Coffee Rhetoric: Bus Tales: The Crazy

August 03, 2007

Bus Tales: The Crazy

Yesterday was a scorcher. It was one of those hot days that made you sweat even if you were standing still. The concept of there being shade was nonexistent. There was no escape from the heat. I swear that my blinking made beads of sweat form on my forehead. So I tried to do it from behind my large sunglasses sporadically, as I hate to sweat. One interesting thing I noticed is that oppressive heat tends to bring what I refer to as The Crazy out in full force. It's like night of the living dead. Walking corpses trudging down the street with glazed-crazed looks in their eyes.
Several years ago, while en route to a gallery exhibition, a friend's car broke down in a questionable neighborhood. That day stands out in my mind as if it happened only yesterday because it was in the middle of the afternoon, and it felt as if it was a thousand degrees. I remember having to remove my watch because any thing that made contact with my sweaty skin made the heat that much more unbearable. We sat there for almost two hours, after having pushed that heap of junk over to the side of the curb (it broke down smack dab in the middle of the street, at a green light). We sat, and we sat, and we sweated, and sat. No air conditioner, no cold beverages. Just the windows rolled down, to no avail because there was no wind to speak of. Suddenly a shirtless man ran down the street, right by the car, waving a rather large knife in the air. Yelling and cursing. At first I thought the heat was making me hallucinate but alas, my mind was not playing tricks on me. I remember sweat trickling, glistening down his brown back as he ran like a crazed lunatic, ready to cut a mofo. Needless to say, we quickly rolled the windows up in that hot car, locked the doors, hunkered down with alarm and fear and with 'O' mouths, we said a silent prayer to ourselves. After having mouthed a collective "What the EFF??" Anyway, her parents finally came and rescued us in an air conditioned car. We never made it to that exhibit. I did go home and write a poem about it though.
So yes. yesterday it was that kind of crazy inducing heat. I boarded the bus and it was a relatively quiet ride, until this visibly drunk (or drugged up?) man boarded from a stop on Albany Avenue... stumbling and full of The Crazy. See, people afflicted with The Crazy always seem to single me out at some point during one of their spells. So I hastily put my ear plugs in and turned up the ol' MP3 player (not that that ever helps). He ranted and raved. Stumbled down the aisle, yelling for "change for a dollar!" He made his way to the back. Because I hate myself, I paused my MP3 player to listen and heard him slurring his way through some incoherent anecdote to some young girl in the back. Something having to do with a White woman being on her cell phone and her legs splayed... wide open. I think I heard him refer to the white woman by some unsavory name. The young girl in the back chuckled nervously, in that "please go awaaaaay" fashion. Unfortunately he stumbled his way back up towards the front and continued ranting. I rolled my eyes, silently hoping he wouldn't say anything to me. There was a young man about 19 or 20 years old, with cornrowed hair sitting next to me... sort of perpendicular actually. He looked annoyed as well. Man afflicted with The Crazy sat directly across from Cornrows. I forgot to mention that I had a large Panera Bread bag sitting next to me in the seat. I heard Man Afflicted yell in my direction: "YOU NEED HELP WIT' DAT BAG!!!" I ignored him and turned the music up louder. "HEY! EXCUUUSE ME. HEY! I SAAAAAID, DO YOU NEED HELP WIT DAT BAG!!!" I continued to ignore him, and stare out the window. Out of my peripheral view, I saw him lean closer... "NO!" I said quickly and turned away. "WHY?? You don't need help?? FINE THEN. Who CARES" and he proceeded to try to cuss me out, but his poisoned brain matter made his thoughts disjointed. His coded language indecipherable. "YOU CAN DO WHAT'CHU WANT!!!" He continued. Just then, Cornrows muttered, "You need to leave that junk alone and stop bothering people." "What?!" Man afflicted challenged. A bit taken aback. "I said, leave that junk alone" Cornrows repeated. "Maaan, I ain't oon no junk. I was just trying to be nice and ask her if she needed help with her bag! I ain't on no junk! She can go 'head. I don't care!" "Man, shut up" Cornrows said. Man afflicted started muttering something about Louis Farrakhan. *sigh* Who knows? Who cares? Why me? Luckily my stop came up shortly thereafter. But I do know that Cornrows' verbal smite towards Man Afflicted with The Crazy was a welcome reprieve.