I had to work today. Well, technically I’m still at work, but on my lunch break, so I guess you can say that I have to work today. Anyway, our shuttle to the metro doesn’t run on the weekends, so I have two options. I can either wake Eric up at 8:30 and have him drive me to work (which at 8:30 on a Saturday morning takes 10 minutes), or I can take the bus to the metro and then walk, or, if I’m feeling super inspired, I can walk to the metro and then walk to work. Which usually takes about 45 minutes, all told. You can guess which option Eric is more a fan of. Which means this morning, it was the bus for me.
Now, the bus ride is usually short an uneventful. It’s about a mile – maybe a mile and a half, all told. I usually get on, find a seat, and read something on my Nook for the five or so minutes it takes to get there. So this morning, I check my wmata app on my phone to see how long the wait will be, see that the bus will be here in three minutes, and run to the stop. I get there right before the bus pulls up. The driver gives me a smile, I smile back, and I start to walk to an open seat, which is in the back, since the bus is almost full. There are two women sitting right next to the door. One is young – a bit older than me – and the other is older (fifties, maybe?) and carrying a large bag and a bouquet of white flowers. As I pass them, the older woman gives the younger one a shove. “Stop pushing me!” she screeches.
I give them a glance and hurry to my seat. The bus starts moving. A few seconds later, the older woman screeches again, “You’re bothering me! Stop it!”
The younger one says calmly, “I’m not touching you, ma’am. Please stop.”
I exchange glances with the girl across the aisle from me (we’re sitting facing each other), and she shrugs. I get out my Nook and try very hard to ignore what’s going on. At this point, I figure maybe the woman is a senile relative or something.
Then things get weird.
The older woman gives this high-pitched wail and smacks the girl with her bouquet of flowers. The girl looks startled, and goes to get up, but the woman grabs her. “You bitch! You broke my flower! You’ll have to pay for that!” she screams, and throws her back into the seat.
The girl tries to push her off, saying, “I didn’t break your flower. You hit me. Please let go of me!” She sounds like she’s near tears.
Oh dear, I think. One of the guys behind me says, “Is this for real?”
The older woman screams again about her flowers, and shoves the off the seat. “You bitch! You son of a bitch!” she says, then audibly spits.
Finally the bus driver pulls over. “Ma’am,” he says calmly, “Please leave this poor girl alone.”
“She’s trying to push me off the seat!” she yells.
“I was here first!” the girl says. “I’ve done NOTHING to you!”
The woman quiets down, and I think, Two stops to go. The three of us in the back exchange another round of glances. The girl across from me gives a nervous giggle. “What’s going on?” she whispers.
We start moving again, and listen to the woman keep screeching for the rest of the ride. When we stop, the girl next to her stands up to leave, and the she grabs her, hard, and drags her into the aisle. I can see the girl flinch and try to pull away. “You bitch!” she screams, “I’m calling the police!”
“Ma’am,” another woman says, “Please let us get off the bus.”
“You’re all sons of bitches! I’m calling the police! You broke my flowers! You assaulted me!”
The guy behind me says, “Aw, no. It’s to early for this shit.” I agree with him silently, hoping that she’ll quiet down. I’m wrong, of course.
The girls burst into tears. The bus driver grabs the radio. The other woman says, “Call the police, you old hag! Go ahead! Just let us off the bus!”
She then drags the girl off of the bus and pushes her into the street. The girl takes one look at her and scurries into the metro. The woman stands on the sidewalk, screaming incoherently. She spits again, this time at the other woman who talked to her. “You sons of bitches! I call police!”
I get off the bus and hurry down the escalator as quickly as I can, glad to be away from her. The girl and the other woman are right in front of me. They both look shaken. “Can you believe that?” the girl whispers, wiping her eyes. “What did I do to her?”
The other woman gives her a sympathetic smile. “People are crazy,” she says with a shrug. “That’s all I can tell you, honey.”
We get on the metro together, and the rest of the ride passes uneventfully, thank goodness. I even get to work in enough time to stop at Starbucks before I go in. Hours have passed, and I still can’t believe that this actually happened. I’m glad it wasn’t anything more serious.
But … it makes for a good story, I guess.