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Here, lady, want a candy bar?

There are usually two preachers at the Burien Transit Station, a man and woman, standing together in front of a handtruck display of Bibles or tracts or something. I don't know what, really. I don't look closely. 

Cranky Old Fart
#217

Wednesday,
Oct. 26, 2022

They're lots better than the street preachers in San Francisco, because they don't really preach. They simply stand there, silent, waiting for someone to approach and ask about Jesus or whatever. Which has never happened in the entire recorded history of me at the transit center.

If we have to have Jesus people in public places, the silent preachers are the ones I'd prefer. And yet they bug me and I'm an ass, so as I walked past them, I sang a mock-the-Christians song I made up when I was a teenager. It's a few solemn Christian clichés, sung to an insipidly upbeat tune:

He died on a cross for you and me
For you and me he died on a tree!
For you and me he suffered and bled
Suffered and bled till he was dead!

It was childish of me, and obnoxious. I know the Christians heard it because I sang it loud, and I know it confused them, hope it angered them.

I support their right to believe whatever lunacy they choose, and their right to proselytize, and appreciate that they do it quietly, but I don't have to take it quietly or politely, and sometimes I don't. 

Usually the crazies gather at the transit center, but this morning's craziest crazy was across the street at the Safeway strip mall, standing in traffic where cars leave the parking lot and turn left onto 148th Street. 

She was a blonde white woman, perhaps 40, well dressed with nothing shabby about her. Baby blue blouse and white pants, with no stains or rips. She could've been an office worker. Definitely not homeless or a hooker; she was too well-dressed.

Something was wrong in her head, though. After two cars leaving the lot honked at her, standing there in traffic, she didn't step up the curb and onto the sidewalk; she walked right into the westbound lanes of 148th Street. And there's lots of traffic on 148th.

When the light allowed traffic to come at her, cars stopped in the intersection, unsure what to do as this woman blocked the way. She was in the curb lane, so some drivers merged left and whizzed past her. A beat-up gray SUV came close enough to offend her, and she pounded on its side windows, hard enough that I heard it over everything else going on.

Then she laughed, and walked back to the parking lot's exit road, a much safer place to stand in traffic, and stayed there as another driver honked at her. 

I'd been watching this for several minutes, and never did this lady set foot on a sidewalk. She's an on-the-asphalt girl, I guess.

Even pretty ladies don't do well standing in traffic, though, and another car swerved around her. Then a woman on the sidewalk tried to talk to her, held out her hand, but from across the street whatever they said, I couldn't hear.

My #120 bus came, and other people got onto it, but I decided to wait. There'll be another bus in ten minutes, and I was only going shopping, not in any rush. Whatever was playing out across the street was something I hadn't seen before, and I didn't want to miss it. 

Maybe she was suicidal, but I don't think so. She didn't seem intent on getting splattered; she just didn't give a damn, is all. High on something, is my guess.

I was wondering if someone else would try to help her, and then this amazing thought popped into my head: Should I do something, try to help her myself? I didn't have my phone with me, but even if I had, I wouldn't have called 9-1-1. All they'd do is send cops, and all the cops would do is shoot her.

Remembering a candy bar in my go-anywhere bag, I figured what the hell and why not. The crazy lady had ignored that other lady's outreached hand, but that hand had been empty. Maybe she'd go for a candy bar in my hand. No-name chocolate, from the dollar store. 

So I pushed the crosswalk button and waited for the machinery's permission to cross, as that lady stood in the left-turn lane from the parking lot, infuriating drivers. What the fuck was going on in her head?

And then the light was green and the electronic voice said, "Walk light is on to cross 148th Street," so I did exactly that.

"How you doing today?" I said when we were close enough to talk.

"Leave me the fuck alone," she announced, and I'm not one to argue with a lady so I turned right around and waited for the next light to walk back to the bus station. Never even showed her the candy bar. It seemed like a stupid idea anyway, and kind of insulting. Here, lady, want a candy bar?

And also, I bought it to eat it, not to give to some random crazy person.

Tell me I didn't do enough. Of course I didn't. I ain't arguing, but even thinking about doing something is more than I'd usually do, so I'm proud of me.

Back on the other side of the street, I watched that lady in blue and white from across traffic, and sometimes she wandered back into 148th Street, but mostly she stayed in the parking lot's driveway.

Then some homeless man started screaming behind me. It's best to ignore the screamers, but first you gotta see where they are and assess their insanity level, so I turned around. He was sitting on a bench, twenty feet from where my bus would be in a few minutes, hollering about butterflies. Not violent, I decided.

And also, he wasn't as interesting as the lady standing in traffic, so I looked for her again, but now she was crossing the street, holding hands with a skinny white guy who looked half her age.

When they reached my side of the street, they turned and walked — on the sidewalk, not in traffic — toward the Speedway Express, a convenience store, and then they walked inside.

Lacking anything better to do, I remained standing, staring toward the convenience store, wondering what they were buying or swiping. Were they old friends? Was she his mom? Was he a good Samaritan, trying to help her, or a scoundrel up to no good?

Then the next #120 came, and it seemed that the show was over, so I flashed my fare and climbed onto the bus. Took a window seat on the convenience store side, just in case there was anything more to see of this drama as we rolled away, and there was.

As my bus turned down 148th, the lady came out of the store, alone, with nothing in her hands, and walked to the street. She looked both ways like you should if you're jaywalking, and then...

Did she jaywalk? Did she simply step into traffic again, and stare down the oncoming cars? Can't say. By then my bus had rolled past.

And since I'd remembered the chocolate bar in my bag, and you shouldn't go shopping on an empty stomach, I unwrapped it and ate it on the bus.

Best of luck and thank you, lady, for fifteen minutes of entertainment at the bus station. 

Take public transit, people. It a hell of a ride, even just waiting for the ride.

And now,
the news you need,
whether you know it or not

Public pressure can no longer do anything, really, to slow the spread of the internet's most violent, most dangerous and most reprehensible content

Missouri Attorney General appears to be using open records requests to intimidate his critics 

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Pamela Moses sues officials after voter fraud conviction overturned 

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Starbucks' negotiations with union stores begin and immediately collapse 

That cardboard box in your home is fueling election denial 

Google alerted Californians to an earthquake before it hit
But they can't make Blogger comments work reliably. 

One-word newscast,
because it's the same news every time…

Climate change isn't 'coming', it's underway. It'll kill billions, and we're not doing squat about it.
climateclimateclimate 

All cops are bastards, or they know who the bastard cops are and do nothing about it, which is the same thing.
copscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscops 

Republicans are the enemy of common sense, common decency, simple truth, and democracy.
RepublicansRepublicansRepublicansRepublicans 

Other links I liked

The many faces of a forgotten gender-neutral hero 

Don't piss off Bradley, the parts seller keeping Atari machines alive 

A Book from the Sky 

When Chinese-Americans were scapegoated for Bubonic Plague 

Robert Shields 

Q without U 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

♫♬  Mix tape of my mind  ♫

• "Ghostbusters Gangnam Style" by Psy and Ray Parker Jr

• "Riders on the Storm" by The Doors 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

The End

Mike Davis 

Robert Gordon 

Charles Sherrod


10/26/2022   

Cranky Old Fart
is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
 
Tip 'o the hat to Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
 
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S, Wynn Bruce, and always Stephanie...

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