Monday, October 11, 2010

Tales of Public Transit

Like thousands of other worky-type people, my workday begins with a daily adventure on public transit. It is wonderfully convenient in that one station connects to my apartment complex and another is ridiculously close to my office, so I never have to drive. (This is wonderful because driving fills me with anxiety somewhere around "this activity will induce instant death" levels and the mere act of sitting in the driver's seat of a car raises my blood pressure probably into the 300s. I had to drive husband home Saturday night and I think I had 3 separate heart attacks during the 7 minutes it takes to get from Taco Mac to our apartment. I'm pretty sure he drinks just to force me to drive every so often. Jerk.) Anyway, public transit. In Atlanta, we have MARTA. Aside from the convenience in terms of no driving, MARTA is an excellent place to people watch, provided you are open to all types of people.

As with any public transit system, you get your fair share of bums and panhandlers, an at times dizzying array of new and interesting smells, the occasional nice man fully intent on making sure you find Jesus (he probably heard about how my cat almost ate Jesus and was making sure I was still covered on getting into Heaven. I think the guy on MARTA had my back), and a collection of very friendly and very jerky people. (Side note: I have a total pet peeve when someone (not of the following types) is sitting in the "the seats are for old people, ladies who are preggers, and those with canes who are not also old people" seats and then one of the aforementioned types of people get on the train and the person in the seat DOESN'T MOVE. Like, grr on you. I once saw an old man with a cane fall over because no one near the door gave him a seat and the train hit a bump. The person in "his" seat was some twat yammering away on her cell phone. Sorry for the aside, but it makes me teh angries.) So this particular morning, I encountered what I will call the MARTA Troll. Her shriek preceded her entrance to the traincar - a lighting-fasting diatribe the content of which I can't quite make out. The smell hits me next, a pungent mix of McDonald's hash browns (which she was munching on) and fail sweat. Then, she enters, a visage not unlike a troll; bulbous and seeming to think that having a neck wasn't in fashion anymore. She held back her wild mane with a sweat band, though she was neither dressed for the gym nor in the 1980s. Her blouse, threatening to burst from trying to contain her form, was adorned with sweat stains and streaks from what I assumed was the earlier part of her breakfast. It was a sight, but I had a book and an iPod.

She, however, had great determination to share her morning problems with the entire train car, not just her poor conversation partner. Her volume rose as the train gained speed. For you see, gentle reader, the troll feasted on chili last night. I can only image the scene, this troll gobbling up cauldrons of chili, frothing at the mouth over the sauciness. But the chili must have overwhelmed the troll, for this morning she was having...let's say "digestive problems". Once which must be shared with the passengers in her train car. Perhaps a troll gains +5 healing for every person they share their plight with.

So that was my morning ride...I tried my best to drown out the troll's wail, but nothing could quite block out the scatological incantations of something so determined. But then, something changed. A perfectly normal looking girl entered the train car and chose the seat across the aisle from the troll. Well, perfectly normal to me, but surely she must have been a witch sent to attack the troll when it was weak from poisoned chili, for the troll would not tolerate this intruder. The troll silenced herself, and gave the new occupant a protracted and vicious side eye...

The girl, confused and scared, said nothing. What would you say? Comment on the irony of wanting a little privacy when you've been talking shit (literally) for the last 15 minutes? Ask the troll to calm down? Take off your jacket to reveal your witch's cloak and damn the troll back to the bridge it came from with a chili-based spell? The choice was yours. The girl, however, just remained stunned. The troll, with a smug glare, just commented "that's right" in a "oh, I just told you" tone and went back to discussing the mass of chili's current location in her intestines. Thankfully for the girl and myself, we got off at the next stop. She was still stunned. I smiled, trying to offer support, but it does little once you've been yelled at by a troll.


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