Sunday, January 22, 2012

Being the "weird woman" on the bus

This article was first written in winter, early 2009, but I was so tired, that I had not realized that I did not press the "publish" button then. There were lots of problems with the writing, and I can't resist editing the more horrible ones. Other than that, it is what it was. I am so glad that I did not get into trouble with the teenager.

p/s: I took the bus, because it was less crowded, and I get less flu/cold than in crowded trains. Those bus journeys were long...
"A few days ago, I was mildly verbally abused (if there is such a thing) by a teenager. You know, one of those angry teenagers. She was not exactly "bad", to be honest, and I was partly to be blamed.
I was on the way home from work. It was one of those days where I struggled to get into work because of morning stiffness, and watched the clock. I was so tired, than I sat totally "zoned out" on the bus.  
My hands felt to stiff and tired from holding on to the coat and bag and keeping it on my lab. If you don't have rheumatoid arthritis, you may not understand this part. If you have, you know the pain of holding something in place for about one hour. If someone sits next to me on a stiff day and I have to sit still and hold my bag,  I can feel so stiff and sore that I felt that i need to massage my elbow, fingers and shoulders when I get home sometimes.  So, I sat there "lazily" and kept the coat in place with the weight of my arm. It was pretty "loose" - partly occupied the empty seat next to me. The bus was about half full and there were a quite a few empty seats around me. 
I was staring blankly out of the window when I suddenly heard a pretty loud "mumbling".  I had no idea what was said, but I turned away from the window and noticed this girl staring at me. I mind was empty, but I guessed she probably wanted to sit next to me, and so took my coat and cleared the seat for her.  I did not say anything to her or smiled - I was just too tired and focused on not falling asleep. The bus was going through a rough part of town, and it was not the place to fall asleep.
She sat down next to me, and then started talking loudly to her friend seated across the aisle about the "bitch". It took me a while to realise she was referring to me and how rude I was, but I was just too tired to respond. When passengers seated behind us got up, the girls moved there. This girl then started to hurl things they picked up from their seat to the seat next to me. In my fatigued state, it took a while before I register  what was going on.
"This newspaper is for you, and of you can have this water too.....etc etc." I was a little shocked to see the dirty newspaper, plastic water bottles etc flying my way, but was simply too tired to have a response and carried on looking out of the window. I was just hoping she would stop. Fatigue is the correct word, actually. No one gets too tired that they become unresponsive and felt no anger or have no reaction despite what was going on. 
Fortunately, her friend told her to stop. "I think that is quite enough, you are beginning to look like a bully".
 "This bitch was rude - she deserves it  etc..$%$£^%5(...because I am black.... "
"Don't you think she looks tired? May be she just had a bad day, you never know. Why take it personally?"
Who says we only have insensible youth in the society? When I had a bit of rest and had the energy to think again that night, I was so grateful that this sensible girl stopped what was going on. She probably saved me not just from further troubles that evening, but also kept my confidence intact. At that time, I it was not long before I held a challenging full time job again.

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