Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Riding the Silly Bus

Today Declan and I went on a big adventure. (Mom - Thanks again for lunch, and I'm sorry that I forgot to regale you with these tales when I got to your office. I was so distracted by everyone doting on Declan that they slipped my mind!)

I got bored and started going stir crazy this morning. I needed to get out of the house or I was going to have to resort to cleaning my room or something. So I got out of the house.

Now I am a planner. I may not seem like it, because I'm also scatterbrained and lazy, but I if I don't have a plan before I embark on an adventure (especially if I'm alone) I will probably end up crying. No joke. Anyway, so I gathered up all of our stuff, looked up how to get to my mom's office on the CapMetro trip planner, strapped the baby into a carrier, and set off to introduce Declan to the wonderful world of public transportation.

We were on the bus for maybe three minutes before a woman boarded who was babbling to herself. As she walked toward us to take a seat, she yelled to the driver, "Don't go yet! Let me sit down first! There's a BABY over here!" She said it the same way that you would yell to your friends, "Guys! Come back! My foot is caught in this quicksand!" I mean absolutely panicked.

Without missing a beat, she sat down next to me and said, "It would have been a shame if he'd started the bus while I was standing. I would have fallen and squished your kid."

I promise. Those exact words.

I just sat there, half in shock, half in fear, as she launched into a rant about how nutritionists and dietitians are all anorexic and bulimic themselves, and have no right to tell her what she can eat at buffets. ...Yeah, I didn't get it either. She then spilled everything that she was carrying - at least one full newspaper, a photo album, and a shoebox full of miscellany - all over the floor of the bus, bent down to pick it all up, looked up at me and said, "Well, are you going to help me?"

More shock. More fear.

It was hard for me to bend down with Declan strapped to my front, but I picked up a few things. I tried to hand them to her. She asked me to hold onto them for a second. So I'm sitting here holding this less-than-sane woman's eraser collection and photo album full of bus passes, comics cut out of the newspaper, and shopping lists. She's telling me all about the time that she graded TAAS tests. I wonder if she actually did grade tests, if she was sane enough once that they let her have some say in children's futures. Her story morphs into a tale of her old boss, a black woman who went to Duke University. I was only half listening - I was busy giving help-me eyes to the normal looking people surrounding us - but apparently this Duke woman stifled her (crazy lady's) creativity. I don't know.

One girl, about my age, caught on to my help-me eyes and tried to butt into the conversation, asking how old Declan was. I told her, smiling. But I wasn't going to avoid the crazy lady that easily. Oh no. She started telling me about the time that she was a college professor. I won't give you all of the details, because she seriously talked at top speed for a good ten minutes about this. But the dead giveaway that she wasn't actually a professor was one word - Syllabus. The first couple times she said it, she said "sibilus," which was funny enough. The subsequent 400 times (okay, maybe four) she said "SILLY bus." Made me giggle. I wasn't scared of her anymore, just amused and still kinda shocked.

I finally got off at Guadelupe and 14th, ready to transfer to another bus which would take me to Mom's office. Unfortunately, the bus that I was supposed to take was unmarked. And we all know how I do without very clear instructions - Not Well. I would prefer it if the buses I'm supposed to get on have big flashing signs on them that say "NATALIE! This is your bus!"

Anyway, I ended up walking from 14th and Guadelupe to 6th and Lamar. I interacted with a few people on the way, but they mostly just wanted to see Declan / talk to Declan / compliment Declan's hat / awkwardly reach out to touch Declan and be DEE-NIED.

At one point, walking down 6th street, I was racing this couple. They were super rich and skinny, and smelled like they bathed in Chanel perfume. I was sweaty. And kinda waddling. I let them get ahead of me, but then at a crosswalk they were too busy chatting about whatever rich, skinny, beautiful couples chat about as they meander downtown, and they didn't see the walk sign. So I breezed by them and took the lead. A couple of blocks later, they passed by me, one on either side. For a split second I was engulfed in a thick cloud of perfume and pretentiousness. Yum. Then they turned into Whole Foods and the race was over.

We had a pleasant visit with mom and the Office Ladies, lunch at Sweetish Hill, and a completely successful and uneventful ride back to the house.

And that is the story of our great adventure.

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