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January 5, 2006

There are impediments to bus knitting.

This image has nothing to do with the column.

Help me. I think I may be infected with old man germs.

On the bus, I had the great misfortune of sitting across the aisle from a very grumpy old man who sneezed loudly, wetly and with a gusto that belied his advanced age. These waves of germs erupted about every ten seconds. Even after washing my hands five times with antibacterial soap in the office germfest known as "the 19th floor ladies room," I am convinced I will soon find myself growing bushy eyebrows or sprouting nose hairs or overcome with an insatiable urge to wave my cane at someone since the old man germs were sprayed dangerously near me, repeatedly, in a very contagious manner.

The perils of mass transportation are many and varied.

I could not actually get up and move far away from sneezing Grandpa Grumpy for the following reasons:

1) Had already changed seats twice, once to avoid the very loud Talking Lady and her friend, Also Incessant Talker. And then I had to change seats again because I found myself sitting next to a non-survivor.*

2) As I missed both the 5:35 and the 5:45 bus, I found myself on the extremely overcrowded 6:00 bus and there were no more available seats for my Musical Crazy-Girl Chairs.

3) Was flummoxed, yes that is right I was flummoxed, ya'll, by the notion that people crowd onto a bus at SIX FREAKING O CLOCK in the morning. Flummoxing takes time, apparently, and dulls the response mechanism.

4) In some very sad way, I was afraid of offending the sneezy, drippy old man even though I know it is weak and docile of me to worry about feelings of germ-infusing grouchy man.

5) He was grouchy, and I do mean GROUCHY, the persnickity sort who probably would have called me out for moving away from his germ shower, and it was morning and I was uncaffeinated and unprepared to deal with crazy so early and also... I am maybe cowardly. And still busy with the flummoxing.

* The "survivor" element: I scrutinize every train and bus and elevator before getting in to see if the people on board look like survivors. I ask myself, "If something were to happen, something BAD, and we are thrust into peril, would these people survive LIKE ME or would they start crying for their mommies as they trampled each other to death in a panic?" It's more of a snap decision really. I also do this on airplanes (in truth, you have less flexibility to get off an airplane, but I do eye my seatmate suspiciously for signs of the survivor instinct.)

Obviously, I have some issues regarding germs and outdated notions of politeness and fatalistic visions of myself caught in metro bus crashes.

I know that in therapy I would have to discuss these issues at length and then discover I'm suffering from some form of psychosis. I would have to cry a lot and get to my root issues. Luckily for me, I do not have a therapist, having given up counseling once I realized it was about as effective on my problems as control-top pantyhose.

I am, however, going to trust that old man germs can be deflected by antioxidant qualities of coffee and the restorative, healing powers of a fun-size snickers bar, which is the Breakfast of Champions I plan to eat this morning.

Right after I wash my hands.


Posted by laurie at January 5, 2006 9:23 AM