I was on the bus to work the other day when an agreeable-looking gent boarded and sat behind me. If I had to describe his appearance, I would say he looked like Captain Kangaroo. Mop-headed, button-nosed, round-cheeked – an apparently jovial guy. I was thrown for a loop.
Immediately after taking his seat, he started chatting. Which, in and of itself is not so strange in this city. A lot of people talk to themselves in public here. I even caught myself doing it once, walking down the street reciting a to-do list. When I realized that the voice in my head had leaked out, I pretended to be on the phone, bluetooth-style. No one besides me cared either way.
Anyhow, so the guy starts mumbling and I hear a curse word. And then two. And then I sneezed and heard, “Motherfucker!” And then I sneezed again (it’s allergy season) and, “Jesus Christ!” And then I realized he was reacting to me, and I realized he was crazy.
Flash forward to yesterday on the bus. I get on and the only seat available is directly in front of a derelict man. Now, I hate to judge a book by its cover, but its cover smelled very strongly of urine, and so I felt it safe to assume. But that’s the opposite of the moral of this story. The man was quiet for a while, then a nice lady sat next to him and made a comment to him and he replied back in a perfectly normal and polite manner. Then he coughed (with mouth covered), and apologized for doing so. Then he called out to me softly, “Miss, miss,” and asked if it I wouldn’t mind if he opened the window a smidge, as he wasn’t feeling well. I was very grateful for this move (see earlier commentary), and he thanked me for my permission. He also asked the woman next to him if it would be alright with her, and said he was sorry, and appreciated it. I was blown away. You just never know who’s who.