Standing in the grocery store line this morning [where I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time lately since management has taken it upon themselves to cut down on cashiers in the morning instead of perhaps taking out one of the three morons behind the deli counter who ignore everyone waiting for deli magic as if they are the Deli Wizards and you must earn their respect to get served], yes well while I was standing in this frustratingly long line waiting to pay for my precious coffee cream which I cannot live without [I'll give up chocolate before I switch to milk in my coffee, that's how serious I am about my 10% cream], the lady standing in front of me reminded me of a bus route I used to take when I was a kid.
I grew up in the 'burbs but went to school downtown so I spent a lot of time on the bus. Because we were in a newer 'burb, the routes to get home were limited: it was either the 16 or 80. My brother and I had nicknamed the 80 "the freakshow on wheels" because well, essentially it was. It was also always crowded, prone to strange smells, and once even held at gun point and no one really noticed [who robs a bus? really do you think the patrons of a bus carry lots of cash and gold?]
Anyhow, obviously the 16 was the bus we preferred to take whenever possible but it meant transferring, and to a lazy person like me, transferring sometimes required too much effort. But it happened during bursts of youthful vim and one day my brother and I ended up sitting behind a university student with the biggest afro you have ever seen. Seriously, the late seventies produced some of the best hair EVER.
Case in point:
So, this woman was sitting there reading her advanced calculus text with the window open on a fine Spring day - just like today actually - when a wasp flew in the window.
Only she didn't see the wasp. But we sure as hell did. My brother and I both leaned back as it buzzed around, maybe even swatting it away as it made it's rounds. Actually, I was probably frozen in terror. Eventually though, the bug decided to land and it chose the lovely lady's afro as it's surface.
I remember being transfixed on this bug, partially to make sure where it was AT ALL TIMES and the fact that it was like watching an astronaut walk on the surface of a new planet. It landed so softly on her hair and the woman, who made up the magma centre of this bug's world, was completely oblivious. Because HELLO! there was about 12 inches of hair between her scalp and this wasp, so there wasn't a chance in hell of her feeling it unless that bug was wearing boots. [for the record: he wasn't]
This bug landing incident happened very close to our stop, and due partially to my bug terror and my brother's and my total shyness, we didn't say a thing before we exited. And wouldn't you know it, that story has stuck with me and each and every time I see someone with their fly down, smudged mascara, bats in the cave, or any other situation like that. Because of that wasp incident, I make an effort to tell folks - even strangers - about whatever it is stuck to them, because I know that I'd appreciate it PLUS I want to make up for the fact that I never told this lady about the wasp that was going to make a nest in her lovely locks. Which I'm sure it did because that's how a child's brain works.
Anyhow, fast-forward to present day motherbumper mayhem: this morning the lady in front of me at the grocery store had beautiful (seriously it looked unreal) long, straight, shiny locks and as I admired her almost borderline Crystal Gayle locks something caught my eye.
OMFG she had a worm in her hair. More like a caterpillar actually (don't click on that link if you hate bugs - and this looked nothing like what was in her hair but I love scaring myself and then spreading the joy) - BUT IT WAS IN HER HAIR.
So after I threw up a little bit in my mouth, I lifted my shaky hand to tap her on the shoulder because I was fortified with idea of finally making up for the sin of leaving that wasp in the afro more than thirty years previous.
"Excuse me, you have something in your hair... I think it's a bug..."
[oh my... I just told a pretty stranger that she has bugs which isn't very polite methinks]
She looked at me, smiled, and shook her head - not hard enough to rid the bug but enough for me to know that she is giving me the "no English" head shake.
Redemption is going to be harder than previously thought. Do I smack the bug off her? Do I pantomime a bug in the hair (is that anything like charading snakes on a plane)? What to do, what to do.
Thankfully - partially due I think to the mo'fo' unreasonable line-ups at the grocery store - the man behind me spoke up in another language, stepped up behind her AND proceeded to knock it out of her hair. Also, being an obvious gentleman, he squashed it as soon as it hit the ground. I wanted to lick him.
But I didn't.
So... have I been redeemed? I'm not sure, but this is for certain: I know will begin wearing my bug suit each and every time I step out the door of my hermetically sealed bubble that I just ordered off of Amazon. The end.