I have been trying recently to let a lot of things go. Cut in front of me in line, I just sigh and go on with my life. If the bus is really late, no problem- I’ll just listen to a full concerto or the complete Tales of Mystery and Imagination on iTunes. You run out of food at a fast food place and I have to wait a few minutes, ok. I’ll write some on a story I’m thinking about.
But today tested my limits. I made an appointment to see the orthopedist for today at 11:45 two weeks ago. I schlepped all the way down to Union Square, a place I truly, truly hate. So many horrible, inconsiderate people swarming just everywhere. People with baby carriages using them as force shields. A billion students walking down the sidewalk in lines all the way across the sidewalks. Aggressive panhandlers. Crappy box stores and hipster joints. Just awful. I hobble with my cane feeling like a salmon swimming upstream.
I get to the doctor’s office, and the buzzer is weird. It takes me a couple of minutes to figure it out. Maybe I’m just slow, but there was nothing intuitive about that thing at all. The assistant finally buzzes me in and I get upstairs. Very chic. I tell her I’m there for my appointment with Dr. (Insert Doctor’s Name Here) and she tells me she called all of the appointments on Friday. The doctor had an emergency.
Well, okay, but I didn’t get a phone call. I had emailed them and we corresponded that way. I gave them my phone number and made the appointment through that. I can’t take the crowds during morning rush hour, and I told them that too. All nice and written down in email. But I didn’t point that out. If the doctor was out, the doctor was out. No point in hashing over something that couldn’t be changed. She apologized to me and made another appointment, even though I’m sort of in a weird constant pain. Then she told me her name, and I knew it was the woman who I had corresponded with. Still, what could being cross with her accomplish. At least I could walk over a block and catch another bus uptown and it would just be a transfer.
Lucky me, I catch the bus fast. But even though I was the first person at the stop, people bum-rushed the door, and I had to get in line behind some woman that decided to chat up the driver while digging her transit card out of something that looked to be a tea cozy for a 20 gallon cauldron, but was actually a beach tote she was using as a purse. I get on and there’s a slew of people, non-handicapped (not that I am permanently handicapped, just temporarily I hope). I need those seats. I can’t hobble to the back of the bus while it’s moving, which by that time it was. I look at a young man sitting in one of those seats and ask him to move. Politely. The bus driver had to tell him to get up. Really. How was he raised? By wolves? I’m beginning to lose my patience.
So I’m riding along, letting the tension of the moment go, and looking out of the window. Zombies were everywhere. People have stopped looking where they are going and have instead taken up screen-gazing. I want to shout “You’re in New York city, you dolts! Look around you or go back to wherever you came from.” Really. Even obvious tourists were nose-deep in their phones.
A little old man gets on the bus. He has a large rolling walker. I mean huge rolling walker. I’ve seen big walkers, but this one is the biggest I’ve ever seen. He pauses at the driver, and people moved got up from the front seats. But that was’t good enough for him. He screamed obscenities because his wide load walker is actually bumping the sides of the passageway to the seats. He made a big deal out of it and finally sat down. Again, I tried to mellow out, and stared out of the window. The walking dead stumbled around on the sidewalks and I let that roll off. I can’t stop people from wasting their lives constantly updating Instagram. It makes me sad more than mad.
The bus turns off of Sixth Avenue onto Central Park South then onto Broadway at Columbus Circle. We stop by the Trump Monstrosity (formerly known as the Paramount Building) and something goes wrong with the computer or something technical. The driver has to wait. Okay. I don’t sweat that. It’s a beautiful day, and I’m just happy to be in a seat instead of walking and having my hips burn. We finally depart, but the driver was ordered to take the bus out of service. He has to put up the “Next Bus Please” sign, which means he can drop off passengers but he’s not supposed to take in any more. Oh well.
The bus veers off onto Amsterdam and stops to let people off at 72nd Street. A woman who had been waiting for the bus with her little snowflake child marches up to the open door. She doesn’t even give the driver time to say “Please take the next bus. This one is being taken out of service.” Instead the woman starts screaming, “I pay $160 a month! I’m getting on this bus!” She keeps it up while the bus driver tries in vain to reason with her. She pushes her kid on in front of her, maintaining her shriek. She drops her Metrocard into the slot and marches to the back of the bus, still yelling about how important she is, and how crappy the MTA is, and what a jackass the driver is, and how much money she pays for a Metrocard a month and how she has a car and could drive places faster than the bus.
The driver tries to get her to be quiet, but she keeps it up. He sighs and drives on. One, two, three, four stops he stops and because the cow won’t stop bellowing, he takes on more passengers. He’s just doing his job and the witch won’t really let him.
Now all this time I’m listening to Cannibal Corpse. Loud. It’s a coping mechanism I have. Thrash metal or death metal where the singer sounds like he’s making Satanic burps into a microphone and the band plays a G chord as fast as they can usually drowns out the hoopla. Not today though. The woman came through loud and clear.
So after I have tried to let things go all day, after I regained my composure and patience again and again, I had enough of her.
“SHUT THE FUCK UP! JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP!” I could barely control my mouth to form the words. I turned around to face the back where she and “Snowflake” were sitting. “CAN YOU SHUT UP? NO ONE CARES AND ALL YOU ARE DOING IS BEING FUCKING ANNOYING! SHUT THE FUCK UP!” My voice, which is usually quite high and edges on the effeminate came out of me like a testosterone-ladden pro-wrestler. It surprised me.
Maybe tomorrow I can have a stress-free day. I don’t have any appointments and I don’t have to go out into a loud, ruthless crowd that tries my very soul.