Bag Lady

I like to think of life as an adventure. My writer’s mind is always watching and taking notes. Some things I observe can easily be translated into prose. Other things are so odd, I have no idea how they would ever be used, but I file them away anyway, just in case.

I’ve been using public transportation lately. That isn’t as exciting or interesting as I thought it would be. I have noticed a few things. Some things shouldn’t be mentioned in polite company. Like there is a definite difference between male gas and female gas or maybe some men are just more manly than others and I notice it more. I’m not really sure how I would use this information in a book, though.

Harley waited under the streetlight as she’d been instructed. The woman named Samantha, Sam for short, was finally going to meet with her. She knew it could get both of them killed if the agency found out about it. The boys didn’t like people messing up their sandbox and she and Sam planned to give them a full-blown dust storm.

Then she smelled it, sulfurous and yet sour, like clabbered milk. There was a man in the shadows. It was a trap!

Like I said, not much potential with this.

I’ve been debating on buying one of those little cart things, but they’re $30 and I’m hoping not to be a bag lady very long. I don’t really know what else I would use one for.

While we’re on the subject of bag lady carts, let me explain my views on them. I think what kind of cart you use is a status symbol.

The little, light-weight wire ones seem to be the cart of choice. Light, easy to fold up and relatively easy to get up and down the bus steps.

The ghetto cart is someone using a rolling suitcase.

Hardcore bag ladies have the shopping carts. I admit it, I want a shopping cart. I just think they are awesome. They’re big enough to put anything, about, you want in them. They have four wheels instead of two for greater stability. Many of them have built-in cup holders. They have the wire racks underneath for greater storage.

Oh, yeah. More power. I want the shopping cart. The biggest drawback is getting on and off a bus with them. The bus drivers here are pretty laid back, but I think they would object to shopping carts.

Plus, where do you get shopping carts legally? Is there a store for shopping carts?

I went to the post office for the first time last week. It was interesting. That was my first foray away from the route to work, where I have mastered trading busses. The post office was a much larger step. I not only had to change busses, but I had to time it so I caught it on the back run. I went to the post office a few days before that, but I walked from there back downtown to the bus stop. This time, the lady bus driver told me she’d be back around in about 30 minutes and showed me where the bus stop was for the return ride.

I stood there on the corner, trying to look nonchalant, when a lady walked up and asked me if that was the bus stop. I said it was and it should be there in about fifteen minutes.

She laughed–loudly–hysterically.

I looked around to see what she was laughing at. She dropped her head down a bit and peered up at me sideways, then started laughing again. I looked around to see what was so funny. Then I looked down at myself. Maybe my jeans were unzipped or something.

Nope, jeans are zipped. Nothing odd about the way I look. Jeans, grungy tennis shoes, green tee shirt, gray hoodie jacket, nothing to write home about, but nothing to laugh at either. She, on the other hand, was fashionably attired in a bright red coat with large black buttons, she had a jacket with a hood on under that, jeans with the white stripes down the front and back that look like you rubbed up against a wall that had just been whitewashed, red tennis shoes, red and white striped tote bag and, most notably, the brightest Pepto Bismol pink lipstick I had ever seen.

She started talking to herself, then she looked at me and laughed again.

She had to have a Blue Tooth stuck in her ear.

I convinced myself she really wasn’t nuts and went back to looking nonchalant.

That’s when she began waving to the passing cars. Not the beauty queen ™ wave. I’m talking the throw your hand in the air, televangelist “be healed” wave.

I took a few steps away and pretended I didn’t know she was there. It was kind of hard because she’s talking again, so people had to think we were visiting.

Things calmed down and she quit waving at the cars and trucks like she was trying to heal them. Thankfully. It reminded me of an old joke and I had all I could to keep from laughing every time she did it. Since I was trying hard to look cool, laughing for no reason wasn’t good.

I looked at her and she was looking at my APO flat rate priority mail boxes. They gave me ten, so I have to take care of them until I can figure out the ordering them on line thing. I clenched them tighter under my arm in case she made a dive for them.

I swear, old woman, you touch my special APO flat rate priority mail boxes and I will beat you to a pulp with them.

She must have noticed I had a firm grip on them and they were going nowhere because she stopped looking at them.

I looked at my watch again. Wow, has it just been ten minutes?

She was laughing again.

Not to worry, she’s talking on the phone to someone.

She pushed her hood back. Nope, no phone stuck in her ear. She’s just discussing dinner with her imaginary friend.

Her little tote was kind of cute. I looked at it to see how it was made.

She noticed me looking at her tote and tightened her grip on it.

What the heck? I’m not going to steal your tote!

I clutched my APO flat rate priority mail boxes closer to me.

Just before the bus came, she waved and walked away.

I got on the bus, pondering what just happened. What if this was a test? What if she was an angel in disguise and I was supposed to give her something? What if she was the angel of Christmas and needed APO flat rate priority mail boxes?

If it was a test, I failed.

I held my APO flat rate priority mail boxes tightly.

My precious.


  1. I can appreciate random laughing, but if you add up all her actions…crazy, crazy.

    I once met a person like that near my college’s library. He talked to himself, laughed at nothing, etc. I wondered if he were an angel or devil because I expected someone to at least look at the guy. Didn’t happen.

    He did talk with me some, though I wonder if his conversations went better with The Invisibles.

  2. Oh man, great story well told… The tone of that wrap-up line was just right.

    Must say, it’s a relief that you’re considering shopping carts or even rolling suitcases. I’d fear your first impulse would be some sort of pack animal. Talk about trying the patience of a laid-back bus driver. (“Sir, would you mind just hanging on a sec while I get my change out of this saddle bag?”)

    When I’m out in public (as opposed to online), I’m one of the world’s most asocial people. Bag ladies, generally homeless types, executives, steelworkers, and (yes) computer programmers, it makes no difference. Talking to strangers gives me the screaming whim-whams. (Perhaps this is why I get almost nothing out of writer’s conferences *coughcough*.)

  3. Dal, I wasn’t even aware there was such a thing. It’s entirely possible. The ducking her head and peering up at me and then laughing was still a bit disconcerting, though.

    Good to see you around here again.


  4. John, when I lived in Gardendale, they had hitching posts by many of the stores and the post office. I rode around quite a bit just to get the stud used to being around people and noise. Methinks a bus driver would object, though.

    Hmmm, how sad to be asocial. As you might have guessed, I talk to everyone, especially old people. I’m always looking for something to compliment an older person about. You never know, it could be the only kind thing they hear all day.

    (Perhaps this is why I get almost nothing out of writer’s conferences *coughcough*.)

    Come to Surrey. We’ll get you over this.

  5. Come to Surrey. We’ll get you over this.

    Yeah, right. Somehow I hear that being said in Margaret Hamilton’s voice. “…and your little dog, too!”

    Actually, in person, most people would be surprised to know I’m asocial. I’m pretty good at carrying on a conversation and making small (or large) talk, etc.

    But inside, whew. A teeming mass of aversion strategies [g].

  6. “Yeah, right. Somehow I hear that being said in Margaret Hamilton’s voice. “…and your little dog, too!”


    Actually, Surrey brings out the older Kate Hepburn in me. Thankfully, no one kicked me out of the bar when they heard, “Did you hear that? I told you that damned Rooster would ruin the village if we elected him sheriff.”

    Yes, there is a story about Kate Hepburn conversations at Surrey.

    Seriously, it would be awesome if you would go to Surrey next year. I’m sure your wife would love it also. Think of it as a romantic getaway for writers.

  7. Tony!

    I’ve been prowling around your site looking for the animated Christmas cards you had on your site. I would love to post them here. Can you tell me where you found them?

    “so little time these days, julie… but season’s blessings to you and yours :D”

    And to you, dear friend. I wish you the blessings of the season and the joy that surpasses all.

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