I’m going to tell you a story. Not the soap-box kind, it’s more like the sitting-on-the-couch-with-Oprah kind. Yeah, it’s kind of major. No, not really.
I’m assuming that you’ve seen Adventures in Babysitting because it is so awesome. Girl babysits little girl and teenage boy. Girl’s BFF gets into trouble. Girl goes to rescue BFF and takes little girl, teenage boy, and teenage boy’s friend. Shit happens; stolen cars, stolen Playboys, and singing the blues. Yes, it is that awesome!
Occasionally, I experience my own adventures-in-babysitting moments. Although they don’t usually involve stolen Playboys or babysitting and I am not nearly as cool as Elisabeth Shue, shit happens in such a twisted way I believe it is scripted out like a Chris Columbus directed sequel to the 1987 flick.
This morning I was feeling especially sleepy and debated driving in to work instead of my usual rail commute. But because I was so sleepy, I didn’t think driving was a good idea. If you have ever visited Washington, D.C. you understand why public transportation might be a better option than sitting in traffic. Lots of traffic.
Fast forward 30 minutes into my commute. The empty seat beside me was occupied by a middle aged man with receding hair and shifty eyes. I usually only complain about the fact that middle aged men with receding hair and shifty eyes always want to sit beside me in my head. I silently shout at myself that it happened again. I have never shared this with anyone else before because it might be rude of me to complain to the other passengers or twitpic these pervy-vibe dudes for everyone else to see. But now you know the type of person who usually occupies the seat beside me.
Headphones and Pandora do a miraculous thing; keeping the outside world far away from you. Fortunately, this made it possible to ignore the pervy man sitting next to me with shifty eyes and a sneer every time my eyes looked slightly in his direction. And yes, he might not be pervy at all. He could be harmless and friendly, but my mind doesn’t work that way. I always think the worst.
According to my maths: Vivaldi+pretty scenery+being sleepy= DID NOT SEE WHAT WAS COMING NEXT
A woman says excuse me once and says it again before I realize she is trying to get my attention. Give me five minutes to un-zen myself so I can understand what is happening.
“Ma’am, I don’t want to alarm you,” she says loudly. “Please stay calm…” Her words were doing the opposite of what she was saying. I’m totally un-zened. When she said, “Don’t panic” next, the rest of the train took notice. Yes, each and every one of my fellow commuters were un-zened and looking at me probably thinking bomb, robbery, chick fight.
I’m thinking to myself, there must be a tyrannosaurus rex chasing after the train. Wouldn’t you be thinking this too? No, I won’t panic. I will sit perfectly still. T-rex’s vision is based on movement. Yes, I learned my survival skills from watching Jurassic Park. This is why I camp in the tree tops. (No, just kidding. Maybe.)
“Ma’am don’t be scared. There is a bug on your head.”
On my head?
I’m not sure why I didn’t immediately react to her concern. Probably because I am less concerned about a bug on my head than I am about a tyrannosaurus rex.
“There’s a bug,” she said again. Perhaps she assumed I was one of those girls who freaks out about that kind of thing. But no, I’m a mom who has cleaned tub shits. Bugs are not a big deal but I assumed the man sitting beside me might roll up his newspaper and smack me on the head, so I calmly reached up to touch my head.
In the nonsense that was happening, I failed to notice two train conductors had come to investigate.
“Is there a problem, ma’am?” one of the conductors asked the woman who had confronted me.
“She has a bug on her head. There is a bug on her head,” she repeated pointing at me almost at the same moment I concluded it was NOT a bug.
My tweet announcing to the world what it was after the conclusion of this incident:
@DCWorkingMommy: Thank you lady shouting I had a bug on my head. I call them bobbi pins not bugs. Is Tim Burton scripting my freakish commute today? #Punked
Yes. A bobbi pin.
“It’s just my bobbi pin,” I repeated 3 or 4 times to the woman, conductors, and other commuters. My hair is one of the few things I like about myself and someone just accused me of having hair bugs. My hair-thunder has been taken away.
Thankfully the conductors ushered the woman back to her seat and I quickly looked out the window and avoided the stares of the other passengers. I could feel their eyes fixed on my hair like laser beams targeted on my blond locks. I was thinking to myself “I DO NOT HAVE BUGS IN MY HAIR” so loudly, I may have accomplished telepathy. Perhaps you live on the west coast and you got that message. Yeah, that was me. And no, I really do not have hair bugs.
It was impossible, even with my headphones and Pandora, to recapture my zen. My zen is now broken. A few minutes later, I had arrived at my destination. Politely, yes politely, I told the man beside me that this was my stop. I had lost any concerns I might have had with the pervy dude. I wanted to be away from each and every passenger who had witnessed what had happened. Slowly, the man beside me got up (it was apparently his stop too) and he slowly began walking towards the doors. When I say slowly, I mean I was concerned that he might not get to the doors in time for me to get off. Can’t this commute just be over?!
No, the commute is not over until my shoe falls off of my foot and a fellow passenger stumbles over it. I’m still waiting for that scene when some handsome British actor in a scarf (because they pull it off so well) shows up to rescue me so the scene can fade to black and the end credits can roll. With as unusual as this commute was, the end scene might be a t-rex running around Washington, D.C.