January 8th, 2006

Laissez-faire

Becoming the arch nemesis nobody dreamed I could be.

Imagine yourself in the Port Authority bus terminal in New York. This is a building full of escalators and people running for buses and even some of these aforementioned buses. I got to converse with someone who ran for one of those buses, and even had the misfortune to miss it, and we shared the wondrous experience of a chance meeting of two people who missed the same bus, and the different ways people react to adversity.

I had made it to the departure gate of the bus Jamie and I needed to get on. Jamie had felt the need to go to the bathroom, and would be along shortly. The bus was already full of passengers and the driver was anxious to get going. I took a step onto the bus and asked him when he would leave. He checked his watch and told me that it'd be a few minutes. I got off the bus and stood by its door, waiting patiently for Jamie to arrive.

The few minutes passed, and the bus driver looked at me. I took one last look and Jamie was still nowhere to be seen. I shrugged. The driver nodded, closed the bus door and started to drive away. However, there was a man who saw my shrug and the bus door shut. This triggered the man to run in futility, shouting that the bus should stop - to no avail.  By the time he had ran past where I was standing, the bus was long gone. Obviously, the gentleman was a little perturbed and turned dramatically to me:

"WHAT DID YOU SAY TO THAT BUS DRIVER?"

Obviously I had offended the bus driver with my shrugging of insolence. I looked at this man, who was a shade of lavender after his thirty-metre sprint, and commented that I didn't say anything - the driver simply left at the time that he was meant to.

How dare I! I had obviously shrugged with such intensity that the driver had to drive away from me, lest the passengers fainted in fear. This charming gentleman decided that as I was too laid-back to shout at, he'd shout at someone else. He went across to the departure gate opposite from me, about twenty feet away, just as Jamie arrived and stood beside me. Nothing obstructed our view of his wrath, as he vented with ferocity at some bus dispatchers. Maybe they'd seen the disgraceful shrugging.

This man had energy to burn. His furrowed brow was collecting sweat dripping from his shining puce head. His hands were whirling dervishes, and his mouth seemed to open so frequently and widely from his angered bellowing that it felt like his lower jaw was trying to get away from the rest of his body. He then pointed with fury at me from the other gate, his index finger shaking with rage. He knew it was all my fault.

I waved cheerily to him.

The man was now beyond livid. He points to a phone and half-grabs it as a despatcher tries to pass it to him. He is screaming down the phone to some poor bemused soul. The despatcher shrugs at me, and starts to walk away. I had gotten away with my shrug of offensiveness!

The angry man, sensing defeat, slammed the phone down and stared with a maniacal intensity at me. He wanted me to know I'd not gotten away with it. He wanted me to know I was a marked man now, for he produced the kind of stare that could melt polar icecaps. A homicidal stare that suggested he would hunt us down and eat our innards.

Jamie and I got on a bus that arrived a few minutes later that took us close enough to where we needed to go, and I smiled. I'd found myself another enemy! This is fantastic progress for me. A few months ago I'd never get on the boat for fear of rocking it, and here I am upsetting strangers in public places - I was feeling proud of myself.
  • Current Music
    Coldplay - Clocks (acoustic)
They're Coming

Dean continues to be charmed.

I walked past a lady of generic size and shape today, in her late 50s at a guess. As I walked past her, everything in her world slowed down. A second past her, she whispered "Hiiii..." and in curiosity more than anything, I turned to see her slowly turning around herself. She gazed at me, and then slowly scanned the bags I had in my hands.

"Whole... Foods..." she said, with the enunciation of a zombie.

And with these words, she's pulling me into her world! Time was slowing! The pauses in her words are feeling shorter and shorter, not for her talking faster, but because I was being dragged to her level - my mind was slowing down to cater for her!

"Yes. I was just there." It was all I could muster in response. I was captivated by her creeping tone.

I wave the plastic bags around to show my wares, and look on in horror as they seem to move through the air as if they were actually in water. It wasn't just speech that was slowing down - it was everything! EVERYTHING! I contemplated jumping to see if gravity was still working, but knew it bemuse the old dear in front of me, and I didn't want anything ridiculous to happen right now.

"I shop there..." Her words slithered out, as if they were exasperated to finally be free from inside her.

And with that I realised my thinking left her a pause to talk again, and with that chance she's grabbed the conversation and is as close to literally dragging it along as could be. Any more of this and I feared time might start to go backwards.

"They sell things... cheaper than other shops do..."

And then her face freezes for a few seconds. No more words. No blinking. No twitching of muscles around the face. Nothing. Her mouth has the shape of an 'O', only there based upon the last syllable she produced. And with that I freeze too, out of fear. I snap out of it and try to startle her with a dazzling response.

"Yes. Yes, they sell some interesting things."

Deservedly, that got no reaction. I looked at her, in her state of void. And then it happens. Saliva starts to protrute from the gaping orifice. Drool sleekly crawls down her face. These globules sent terror of globular proportions through me. I was getting the fear.

"I think I should go now."

The dribble drops from her chin down to the floor in slow-motion, but crashes with a feeling of reverberation, like every alarm clock in the world chiming in unison in my head. It set the world going again. It let me leave his wretched moment. It even shocked the wraith into life again, and with a snort her mouth snapped shut, and she assessed me again.

"...You should go to Whole Foods... they sell things."
"Okay. But I really must go. I have items for the freezer in these bags. They might melt."

I turned and walked and didn't look back. For all I know she's still there. My hands tremble slightly at the thought that she might be causing all manner of distortion to the world. But maybe people like her are what the world truly needs. True characters.
  • Current Music
    Garbage - Metal Heart