I realized that when I think of my co- bus inhabitants during our commutes, if I am not able to tune them out, I generally put them in my "freak show" characterization. It helps me dislike them less if I know the rest of the world would side with me. Today, there happened to be an extraordinarily colorful group of characters. I fought the urge to imagine myself standing at a podium in a top hot and wand screaming, "Step right up and meet The Woman Who Is Too Lazy To Shower So She Wear At Least 1/4 Of Her Perfume Bottle."
Or "Check Out The Man Who Is Currently Experimenting On The Effects And Benefits Of An Entirely Curry Diet." And I don't mean curried chicken. I mean curried curry. I think I can go ahead and predict his result post-research period: I felt fine, but there must be a horrible physical disfigurement that I have been rendered incapable of seeing as everyone who comes near me has a look of disgust and tries to climb walls to escape my mere presence."
My favorite of the day? "The Man Who Continuously Puts His Seat All The Way Back Squashing My Purse Into My Lap And The Chair Against My Legs." We did some co-pushing. I like to think that he understood where we were each coming from. He actually kept pushing back so much that the chair snapped. Who would have thought? A 250 pound grown man pushing back on an inanimate object with all of his might could actually break said object. If he had broken my legs, I would have been able to join the circus cast. The chair snapped and was pressing on my legs, but only slightly. I got to choose between standing for who knows how long, or sitting in my seat and pretending that this chair on my legs was a blanket. My nap was a sweet one.
And of course there was the NJ Transit staple: "The Man Who Doesn't Believe In Deodorant But Really, Really Should." I am not sure why there are so many of this particular strain of freaks on the buses. People are only interested in one. Supply and demand! You are ruining your value, along with my ability to breathe.
There is "Wig Woman," "The Shover," "The Hoverer," "The Girl Who Screams On Cell Phone," "The Person Who Sings Out Loud As If They Were Being Asked To Do So," "The Person Who Farts And Thinks He Has Gone Unnoticed," and "The Macho Man Who Curses Out Loud And Mutters To Himself When He Has To Stand Or If There Is Traffic Or If He Receives An Email Or A Text Or His Balance Fails Him Minutely."
Maybe I am "The Girl Who Stands At An Imaginary Podium Insulting Everyone To The Faces And Backs And Hips."