Crazy of the year award
Okay guys. I understand that some people are mentally ill. Really, I get that. And I understand that mostly they can’t help their quirks, and some need medication REALLY BADLY. But, sometimes you just can’t help but wonder what the hell is going on with people these days. It’s kind of disturbing. Like there’s this one woman who appears occasionally on a corner near my office. She looks perfectly normal. Until the screaming starts. The first time I heard it, I looked around for the crime. No crime. Just this crazy woman screaming bloody murder at nothing at all. And it’s not just a regular scream, oh no, it’s a blood curdling banshee scream. It’s terrifying. But it’s really nothing compared to the man I encountered on our public transit system yesterday.
I have recently sprained my ankle rather badly while playing softball. It is an especially crap time to do it as our yearly tournament weekend starts tomorrow, but it is feeling a lot better than it was this past Sunday when I ran my foot into second base at a seriously awkward angle. There is still swelling and bruising, but my ice pack is helping a lot. Anyway, I got on the train and I really need to sit. I’m not particularly steady at the best of times what with all the brake slamming that happens on metro, so standing like a stork while hugging a pole for dear life just isn’t going to cut it. Someone will end up with me in their lap. Surprise!
When I get on the train there is one seat left next to a relatively normal looking guy. He’s dressed in a polo and khakis and has on decent shoes, so there’s no indication in his appearance for me to expect what happens next. There is a newspaper in the seat. This, in itself, is not at all a surprise as people are douchebags and leave their crap lying all over the train. I generally scoop up the paper and either read it and toss it or set it under the seat for the next bored metro rider. As I lean over to move the paper, the man snatches it up like it’s his precious and looks at me like he may maim me for even trying to touch it. Mentally, I go “ohhhh kayyy….” and go to sit down. This is when I notice the cup.
Now, WMATA prohibits all food and beverages on the metro. They’re really crap about enforcing this rule, but generally people who bring food or beverages on the train do so in closed containers. This is not a closed container. This is a giant 7-11 double gulp cup. It is full of coke (or other brown soda). It has no lid. And to top it all off, he has it sitting in the middle of the bench between where I would be sitting and where he is sitting with just his hand resting over the top of it. I can tolerate a lot of things, but coming to work drenched in coke isn’t one of them. I clear my throat and say “man, you have to move that beverage. I’m sitting here, and it’s not allowed on the train anyway. Move it.” He gives me this look like I’m speaking an alien language and scoots it a little closer to his leg.
Fine. It’s the last seat, and if I don’t sit down soon I’m going to fall over. So I sit. At this point, I take out my book and get to reading, because it’s the only way I’m staying awake on the train. Suddenly, movement catches my eye and I look over and this man is having a conversation. With no one. His lips are moving but no sound is coming out. He’s even gesturing with his hands, which honestly made me nervous because he wasn’t holding on to the damn cup anymore. Clearly, even though I cannot see this invisible conversational partner, they are having an argument. This goes on for about 5 minutes until we get to the first stop after I got on.
We head into the station and stop, and I miraculously stay dry. He starts gathering his stuff about him and I think oh good he’s exiting, I’m saved. Nope. He’s just standing up to look at the metro map on the opposite wall of the train. Oh well. He’s doing a pretty good job of wrangling his beverage so I’m not too bothered. Then he sits down. Now, I didn’t smell him when I was sitting there, but the act of his moving about has wafted this odor in my direction. I do believe that at some point while wearing his clothes this man has wet himself, let it dry, and kept on going. It was horrendously gag inducing, but again there were no more damn seats on the train so I let it go. Once he stopped moving the reek stayed contained to his personal space.
As we are pulling into the second stop he turns his head and looks at me and says very politely, “excuse me, do you have the time?” I tell him and his eyes widen to the size of dinner plates, then he says to me in a slightly panicked voice “IN THE MORNING!?” then goes back to studying the metro map on the wall. At this point, we are almost to my stop and I say to hell with it and just give up. I stand up, clinging to the pole for dear life as we stop and rush off as the doors open. There are things that alone you can handle, but when you put them all together just creep you out. This was one of those times. It has got to be the WEIRDEST start to the day I have ever had in Washington. So, add another thing to the list of things I won’t miss about this place.