Yebo - Joey and the Deltones

In a way, this song kind of represents me at my best. It is a snapshot of me at my most idealistic, dreamy, and hopeful.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Armed and Dangerous

It's amazing how heavy a human arm is.

Fortunately, for me, I haven't come across any severed limbs in my almost 24 years on this planet. Yet, I comment on the weight of a human arm because of the shock I got when I was unexpectedly and repeatedly hammered by one on my most recent ride into town.

The buses going to town are double buses. They are not double decker buses like you see in London or sometimes in NYC, but rather, double in length like the ones you see going around Boston, unless of course, I have my cities confused. They seat a large number of people, but still, every time they go to town during the week, they are filled beyond capacity, and people are left standing for the 40 minute ride.

Myself and a few friends boarded the bus before it was filled up, and we settled into a few vacant seats apart from each other. I sat down in the aisle chair of a row of three seats, with a slightly large-ish woman taking up the window seat, the chair between us, reserved for my bag. After a few stops, the bus was almost filled up, and I was thankful I still had my aisle seat, and a place for my bag so I didn't have to carry it on my lap.

With only 2 stops to go, I noticed an absurd amount of people outside attempting to board the bus. The first three people walked past me to some seats beyond. The bus must have been full by that point with many more people to go, and as I looked up, I saw what was probably one of the largest women I have ever seen in my life, coming down the aisle with her eyes directly on me.

Well, her eyes weren't on me exactly, but rather, on the vacant seat next to me. She asked politely in siSwati if she could sit, and outwardly friendly but internally grudgingly, I scooted over to the middle seat, put my bag on my lap, and then just barely dodged this woman's giant leg as she blindly sat down in not only her seat but in half of mine as well. I'm not even kidding. She took up a seat and a half, plus was spilling out into the aisle. I say none of this to be mean, only to recount the facts of the the events of the day. She was a very large woman.

I could tell she was a nice woman though, because as I adjusted my butt, legs, body, and family jewels so nothing would be crushed during the ride, I found that my ass no longer was touching my seat. Instead, it was resting on the right leg of the giant woman to my left, and the left leg of the half-sleeping not so giant woman to my right. It was incredibly awkard at first, but after gently squirming a bit to see if I could maybe slide in between them, I decided it wasn't worth it and accepted my center seat for the ride to town.

My friends were behind me, so I couldn't turn around to talk with them during the ride, so I sent out some text messages to other people around. Some were just "hi" type of notes, others were, "You wouldn't believe how uncomfortable I am right now" type of notes, and others stated simply that at that moment in time, I wanted nothing more than hot and somewhat flattened Krispy Kreme donuts.
As I was writing out my text messages I felt an unexpected dead weight fall into my chest. Thinking someone's bag had fallen from the overhead rack, I looked up, only to remember that there was no overhead rack on this bus. I looked at my chest and saw nothing on there, and had fleeting thoughts that maybe someone threw a really dense sandwich at me and it was on the floor. I looked to the floor.


I looked next to me at the giant woman, who was now somewhat sleeping, just like the woman on my right. The giant woman had her hands on the seat in front of her, loosely hanging onto the bar at the top. I went back to finish my text when I felt ::WHAM!!!!:: again. I dropped my phone as I realized that the giant woman's arm had loosened its grip on the bar in front of her and had dropped directly onto my fragile little chest and arms.

Like a schoolkid who is falling asleep in class, she quickly jerked her arm back to its resting position on the bar and opened her eyes in a dazed fashion. I didn't say anything. I just awkwardly bent over like a Chinese acrobat and somehow managed to pick up my phone from between my feet on the floor. Before I got fully up again, ::WHAM:: the arm knocked me on my shoulder, and quick as a bunny, was replaced back on the resting bar.

I sat up, tilted my head slightly to the left, and looked thru my dark sunglasses at the giant woman next to me. Was she flirting with me? I don't like people who flirt by leaving meblack and blue. Was she awake? Conscious? Mostly alive?

She had her eyes closed, her head tilted slightly back, and both her arms resting on the seat in front of her. I went back to texting, and again ::WHAM::. She picked her arm up. I looked down at my phone.... ::WHAM:: I looked up. She picked her arm up. I looked down. ::WHAM:: I didn't look up. ::WHAM:: I didn't look up. ::WHAM:: I looked up, and to my left. It felt like someone was throwing recently shaven baby pigs at me every time I lowered my eyes. This arm was heeeaaavvvvvyyyyyyyy. However, after this latest series of subcounscious beatings, I imagine she must've felt slightly embarrassed, because she adjusted herself slightly, took her arms down from the chair in front of her, and put her arms at her side.

Now, when this woman put her arms at her side, it was actually as if she had decided to use my shoulder and half my face as an arm rest, because that's exactly where her arm came to rest. I suppose she didn't mind the beard on my face or the bony body structure of mine that must have been stabbing into her somewhere.

I didn't really move much. I stopped texting because I couldn't look down at my phone. All I could see was her giant arm, and all I could feel was the sweat accumulating on my face from the never ending skin to face contact. It got really really hot. And really really sweaty. I thought I might panic after a few endless minutes in that position, so eventually I decided it was time to make a noise or big movement to wake her up. I did just that, and as she stirred to life, she lifted up her arms, I felt the breath of life come back into me, and I saw that she put her hands... back on the seat in front of her.

Wishing I could share this horrific irony with someone else, I began to text another friend, when all of a sudden ::WHAM::. The shaved baby pig. I mean, the arm. Again. What was so amazing, besides the sheer weight of this arm, was that it seemingly had no effect on this woman, that every second and a half, her arm would mercilessly pound me like a raw piece of meat. If it did affect her at all, she might, oh I don't know, WAKE UP.

The whole situation was hysterical to me, and it reminded me of another volunteer's story about riding in close proximity in a taxi with a large breastfeeding mother, and her child. Many women in rural South Africa have no shame about whipping out a boob, and feeding their little ones wherever they happen to be. That's exactly what this woman did. Only as she took out her one breast to feed her little boy, she rested it on the volunteers arm nest to her in the cramped space. The volunteer described the boob as being something like "ridiculously sweaty" and he could "feel the milk pulsing thru the breast" as the feeding went on. You'd be hard pressed to experience that back home.

Anyway, I couldn't help but laugh and laugh and laugh to myself, each time this woman's giant arm came barreling down on me like a dull guillotine. It didn't hurt at all though... in fact, it was just like having a pillowfight.... a pillowfight with a fat woman's arm.

How could you not laugh at yourself in that situation?

Eventually, the bus arrived at town, and we all got off. As I stood up, covered in this woman's body sweat, and nothing really bruised except maybe my sense of pride, I made up my mind that the next time I take the bus, I'm just gonna stand.
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