The World’s A Lotta Crazy

“I don’t mind being the neighborhood crazy. I just wish people wouldn’t think I’m the only one.”

– Bathrobe-clad lady drinking something from a water bottle while walking down the street

I chuckled at the first sentence but paused at the second. I think it’s actually a bit of drunken profundity.

I had just left the library after working on some short stories. I spent the afternoon trying to capture the Heisenberg-esque mind of a crazy person, and here it was delivered to me.

Her quiet remark to herself forced me to think about how people view themselves. We’re always evaluating ourselves, whether we want to or not, and comparing to the others around. Assessment of others can be seen as an instinct. Gotta know if someone’s a friend or foe, that kind of thing.

Naturally, we take notice of the people around us. For the most part in modern society, I’d say people are less keyed into the survival bit (highly dependent on your occupation… obviously). Anything thereafter can be considered character judgement. What kind of person is this? They look like they’d hate socks stuffed with pinto beans. I bet in high school, they could never compare oranges to apples in the cafeteria.

We’ll all come to our own conclusions about what Bathrobe lady really meant. There’s a lot going on in her words, much of it sad, truthful, and sincere.

The angles from which we consider one another are plentiful, and people would probably benefit from (at least momentarily) considering the angles of those around them.

A Hipster Bus Ride

It’s a typical evening on the limited-route bus back home. Everyone is tired from work, people are kinda smelly (especially the dirtbags who go to a gym after their desk job), and most of all, no one wants to deal with anyone else. So no one speaks to each other, you don’t make eye contact, and you try to breathe less of your cranky neighbors’ odors. These are the rules. They are unspoken.

Of course, leave it to the hipsters to blow this stately peace all to motley hell.

I get on the bus at its first available stop. Empty seats, dirty floors, and my pickings of the palace. The limited bus only hits two stops before it’s fully encumbered and whipping through the crammed and honking traffic corridors of the city. It’s crowded. I’m sandwiched between two old ladies with bulging handbags of concealed goodies. Everyone else is absorbed in their phone, Kindle, earphones, or leave-me-the-hell-alone face. It’s great; sublime even.

The next stop means a few people disembark and newcomers board. They shuffle for position among the mainstays, who grumble and fake their best efforts to make space. Hey, it’s a tough world.

Two very nice young ladies sigh and mumble until they’re positioned somewhere in the aisle ahead of me. Mind you, at this point, I’m completely oblivious to most of the bus and am privy to the one-of-a-kind seat with a spectacular crotch view of a man as closely sidled up to my seat as he could possibly discover.

So here I am, looking at my hands (because looking up isn’t a great option), and all I can hear are these young ladies talking to each other. I have, to the best of my ability, recovered their enlightened discourse here:

“Friend, you made it to me.” Her voice is a bit raspy and sardonic.

The other girl sighs, and with one last struggle, lands in a favorable resting position. “Yeah, I did.” Her voice is quiet and droll.

“Oh my God, I’m so fucking hungry,” Raspy says. “Let’s get something to eat. We should just jump off right now and go to Dixon’s Bar.”

“Uhm.”

“I’m just kidding. Obviously, we should just go home, but if you had said yes, I probably would have been like ‘OK’.”

“Yeah.”

Raspy seems like the one in control here. The one who dons the pants, as they say, but they obviously meant tights. “I just want to get home and eat and watch a movie. We should watch the Hunger Games, not only because of its title, which is hilarious, but because I’m fucking starving.”

I face palm.

Raspy cannot be stopped. “Could this bus go any slower? Fun fact: did you know Sandra Bullock earned a license to drive busses from Speed?”

Droll says, “What, no way.”

“Yeah, totally, she trained for the movie because she actually did drive a bus and had enough hours to earn her own license. Crazy.”

There’s a pause because what the hell does someone say to that?

“Anyway, we shouldn’t watch the Hunger Games because I’ve already seen it like three times this week. We should watch True Detective, oh my God, that’s what we should do. So good.”

Now I’m curious whether they look like the hipsters that I imagine. Raspy is wearing all black (essentially morphing her into a walking shadow), with tight leggings and a long-sleeve that is stretched to the max over her wide shoulders and obfuscated bosom and waist. Her hair is short, black, to her shoulders and looks very shiny. Also the bangs–in hipster fashion–are ruler straight just a bit above her eyebrows. And her hair isn’t sweaty shiny, but shiny shiny. You know, like the hood-of-a-freshly-washed-car shiny. She’s got those black, thick-framed hipster glasses,

yes, you know these well…

crimson lipstick, and a dainty little beauty mark above her lip as if she put it there on purpose. And of course, she’s got black fingernails.

Droll (and I kinda feel bad giving her this name now, but it totally fits) is the more subdued hipster, with brown boots and blue jeans and a white-with-horizontal-red-lines button shirt covered with a beige wool… thing. A shawl? I should know what the word is but it’s escaping me and dare I say it, I’m too lazy to look it up. But it’s not like a quaint shawl. I know that much. She looks woefully bored and thumbing her phone while halfway engaged with Raspy.

“Wow,” Raspy says, “I bet if we started yelling at these people, no one would look up. They’re all totally dead.”

Droll gives a scoff-laugh, the sharp exhalation. “Yeah.”

“It’s so ridiculous, like, if we were attacked, no one would notice. I bet we could steal something and no one would care or even do anything.”

I’m thinking, Okay, what the.. some kinda.. you’re…. Sigh. Hipsters.

“I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been berated on a bus and no one said anything. God, it’s awful.”

Through the bodies, I can tell that at least two other people are also not wearing headphones or occupied with their phones. We’re all frowning. If space allowed, I like to think that we’d all have gotten up, stood over this whining young lady, and shouted at her. I don’t know what the hell we’d shout, but it’d be something maybe not fierce, but totally deserved.

Oh, you better watch yourself before I say something well deserved.

But not only are we bus veterans inured to this type of self-aware bus blathering (though usually from drunks and crackheads), we also can’t stand up because it’s too stupidly crowded.

Raspy continues on with her diatribe and Droll stokes the flames and thumbs her phone along.

So all this is relatively pointless ranting on my part, except I’m a writer, and if I ever meet Raspy and Droll again, I’ll say, “Hey, I don’t want to talk to you because I’m tired and don’t feel like entertaining your wildly bloated philosophical bus soliloquies, but here’s a short story I wrote that makes you sound like a total nincompoop.”