Yesterday, Henry made me take the trolley to work, resulting in me having to walk fifteen minutes in ten degree weather. You might think, “Oh here it comes. Yet another predictable blog post berating and emasculating Henry while somehow finding a way to mention for the 87th time that he dropped a bowling ball on her foot.” But no! This blog post is actually thanking him for making me take the trolley, because I ended up having a Unicorn MomentTM.
(Although the severe coldness nearly made my already half-dead bowling ball toes turn into grape-colored freezepops.)
I was standing alone on the trolley platform when I noticed a man dressed entirely in an olive-palette mountain climbing ensemble approach the ramp. He brandished a blind person stick, which pendulated in jerky arcs across the pavement.
“Oh god, please don’t come up here,” I thought in a mild panic. What if he needed help getting on the trolley and I was the only one there? What if he fell over into the tracks and I was too stupid to remember the number for 911? What if I tried to help him off the tracks and then my foot got caught and holy shit I don’t want to die like that! What if his blindness heightened his ability to feel the hellfire of my aura and he started shouting in Latin about me being a demon and the Sam and Dean Winchester pulled up and shanked me over top of some AC/DC joint? What if he was only pretending to be blind so that he could find gullible broads like me to pity-rape* in a storm cellar? LITERALLY ANY OF THESE THINGS COULD HAPPEN.
(*This has only happened to me once, when I took pity on a Canadian with a gigantic head.)
And then he was at the top of the ramp, three feet away from me. I considered standing stock-still, hoping he wouldn’t smell my panicked perspiration or sense the heat waves of fear emanating from my body.
But then I thought, if I were a blind person, I would want to know if someone was around in case I started doing weird calisthenics or an X-rated hand jive routine. So, in a voice that sounded like a 20-year-old orgasm finally expulsed from a nun, the word “hello!!!!” shot from my mouth and kind of just levitated awkwardly in the cold winter air while the blind man rotated slowly to face the direction of my voice.
And then we exchanged weather-pleasantries and laughed about Good Ol’ Pittsburgh for a minute before I went back to nervously counting and re-counting my trolley fare and he went back to being blind.
If I was blind, I would probably just use that blank screen to play imaginary Dr. Mario 24:7.
Before I could spend any more time in blind man fantasy land, another person joined us on the platform.
A goddamn motherfucking Asian midget, are you fucking kidding me. Best day ever!
Unicorn MomentTM in full effect!
But then the trolley pulled up and I went back to fixating on the blind man, who had overshot where the trolley would stop. I wondered if I would have to walk over and be his guide dog (I don’t have many “guiding” qualifications, but I’ve been called a dog by plenty of middle school boys), but the whoosh of the trolley door opening was enough to steer him back toward me and the Asian midget.
“After you, sir,” I said to him. Seriously! I said that! (When I told Barb at work, I think she thought I was lying.) Then I had to watch him struggle with the toll machine, which kept rejecting his dollar bills. I was going to offer assistance but please, I’m a card-carrying Trolley Dunce. There was one time when it wouldn’t take my dollar and the driver completely lost his shit and screamed, “THIS FUCKING THING! JUST GO SIT DOWN! I MIGHT AS WELL JUST LET EVERYONE RIDE FOR FREE TODAY, FOR FUCKS’ SAKE!” and then gave the toll machine a swift blow with the heel of his hand. I almost cried.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t the toll machine’s fault. The dollar I was trying to use had been laundered numerous times and by this point in its sad life resembled a thin, transparent sheet of cotton.
(I don’t know that it’s really called a Toll Machine.)
Anyway, the other reason I didn’t try to help was because what if this guy was one of those Handicapable Crusaders who hiss in the general direction of kind and helping hands? I didn’t want to get hissed at. Just being on the trolley in and of itself was like being hissed at by the Universe. How much more could I bear.
Meanwhile, Asian Midget had made himself at home in the front seat and was savagely gnashing his way through some sort of giant, hot stinky meat sandwich the size of his own wobbly head. So where do I choose to sit? Right behind him. He kept getting up to talk to the trolley driver (seriously, one of THOSE busy bodies) which afforded me ample opportunity to realize that he looked like a stunted version of the Hoobastank motherfucker dressed in a long (but probably normal for the rest of us) trenchcoat and chinos and he walked with an obnoxious self-confidant swagger. He pulled off his knit cap to shake and fluff a thick bouffant of 1990’s skater hair—which I was honestly not expecting to be under there— and then re-scarfed himself, almost whipping me in the face with one end of it.
God only knows what they possibly had to talk about.
And then some guy came on and asked the driver something about trolley stops, so Asian Midget interjected and started schooling him in the art of Which Stop To Get Off. He even hit the “Stop Requested” strip for him!
I guess he was just trying to prove that he could reach it.
I had to ride it again today. This time I was the only person with a disability (I have a disabled personality) who was waiting, but I’m pretty sure two of the broads with me were off-duty strippers. And not the fancy kinds, either.
Some older man in a Steelers coat started asking me questions about the trolley, like: “Does the Red Line come out here from the North Shore?”
I don’t know, does it? Why does everyone come to me with their public transportation questions when I look like a frightened Farmer’s Daughter taking a trip to the City to get her ailing grandma some Medicine? In my head, everyone on the trolley is flicking a switchblade beneath their seat.
Sometimes I think people must look at me and mistakenly think they saw me on TV, winning it all on the Port Authority question on Final Jeopardy.
God, go ask the Asian Midget.