Saturday, May 07, 2005

Psychobabble

In the shuttle, seated across from me yesterday was a familiar face. I dont know if he remembered me, but we had a run-in with each other about a year ago. This fella had a sociopathic streak in him. He would ride in the shuttle and complain audibly about anything that bugs him: the air-conditioning, the traffic--anything. He was one badass mofo, pardon my French. Usually our fellow passengers just didnt mind his tirades but somtimes someone would agree with him and theyll have a heck of a time complaining. But this didnt happen often.

About a year ago, I got into the shuttle and already in it was a, well, shall we call her big-boned? There was a big-boned lady already in the shuttle. This is going to be quite a squeeze, I thought. Next came our sociopath and he sat beside me. Then another lady came in. The shuttle seat usually sat four comfortably, but with the fat lady--let's just call her fat--we hardly had enough room. The shuttle filled up with passengers soon after and off we went. Just another routine ride to work. Later I noticed sociopath behaving rather oddly. He was mumbling and coughing and damn if he wasnt trying to cough right in my face. He'd turn his face to the side and cough. I let it pass. But he kept looking at me, look away, then mumble.

Later the other lady got to her stop and got out. At last, we had breathing room. But what's this? As sociopath was moving to the place in the seat where the lady was he elbowed me a couple of times. Just a couple of nudges; they didnt hurt at all, but enough was enough. "May problema ba, brod," I asked. Is there a problem, bub?

"Youre an asshole. You didnt give me room," he said. Yes he did use the word asshole. Asshole ka, pare, he said. He said it while glancing sideways at me, then looked away, then glancing, then looking away. Now I dont know about you, but when someone calls me an asshole, I want them to be looking right at me. So I made it easier for him. I leaned over and got into his face. "What?," I said, pretending that I didnt hear what he said, then I cocked an ear at him. I was about an inch from his face. He mumbled the same thing about me not giving him room. "Are you blind?," I asked. I was about to say, Dont you see this really fat lady over here?, but I caught myself. I just said, "It wasnt just you who was feeling cramped. We all were. So what the hell were you talking about me not giving you room? This is a shuttle, not a cab..." And on and on I went, trying to keep my voice calm and even and matter-of-fact. The fat lady tried her best to ignore us and she did a pretty good job at it. She probably had an inkling that it was her fault that we were cramped, but really, was it her fault she was fat? Anyway, after my lecture on the finer points on how to behave in a cramped shuttle, I settled down and listened to the music playing on the radio. But sociopath was still at it, mumbling, glancing at me sideways,looking away, glancing again, mumbling... This guy might try something, I thought. We'll see.

My stop came. Sociopath was sitting next to the door and he had to get out of the shuttle first so I could get off. I thought, if he was going to try something, this was it, and Im giving him that chance. He stepped out, and I followed, but I didnt go on my way. I stood there, standing squarely in front of him, looking straight into his eyes, hands on my side, with palms towards him as if to say, Let's go, bub. He stood there, too, but he didnt face me squarely, and I knew that if indeed he wanted to try something, he thought the better of it when he saw I was ready. He took a last parting sideways glance, and went back in the vehicle. Never saw him again for a year.

So yesterday, I sat right across him. But something has changed in him somehow. He had a lot less hair, was a bit gaunt, and he developed a tic. He was twitching all over the place. It was distracting. It was as if he was trying to find the most comfortable position for his head on his shoulders by adjusting the angle it rested on his neck. What happened to him? He wasnt complaining anymore. probably because there really was nothing to complain about that time, but I cant help but think that maybe, he was trying so hard to control his behavior, trying so hard to keep from being an ass, and he was successful, but he developed a tic instead. His need to bitch manifested itself in a really annoying tic.

I dont know if the run-in we had somehow affected him. I sure hope not. I wish the bozo all the best.

4 comments:

grifter said...

Shit. I was expecting you to open a can of whup-ass on him.

Zeppellina said...

Hi Jedo. Thought I`d come out visiting. Perhaps he took on someone who decided to `teach him a lesson`, and has suffered badly because of it.
He sounds a pretty sad, (if a lttle annoying), person.
So many things might have happened in his life since you last saw him, but I don`t think you should blame yourself for it, sounds like you were annoyed, but honourable in your interactions with him.

Time Bandit said...

karma yon

grifter said...

He was the son of the neighbor who used to defend you from the street bullies when you were 5 years old.