Crazy Lady On The Bus
She was quite well dressed, too, she didn't look like a crazy lady. I suppose it's mine own fault for getting involved, but she kept shouting in my ear.
She was sitting in the aisle seat, and another girl tried to get into the window seat - she wouldn't move, so the girl had to climb over her to get into it, and the bus lurched, so the girl kind of fell against her. Girl apologised, but this lady would not give it a rest, she just kept shouting at her (directly in my ear, as I was in front of them), to the point where the girl just put her iPod on and ignored her.
I turned around to kind of give this crazy lady that disapproving English kind of glance that says "stop making a performance of yourself", and she starts shouting at me (because the girl has her headphones on and is not listening to her) so I said, as camly as possible, "She apologised, give it a rest." She starts SCREAMING at me, telling me "OHMIGOD, YOU ARE A RACIST, YOU WOULD NEVER BE COMPLAINING IF I WASN'T BLACK". To which I told her "that's lazy thinking, I'm complaining because you're shouting in my ear". I tried to zone out and just ignore her, but she's railing away so loudly that the bus driver is making "calm down back there" announcements.
I get off the bus at the next stop, and she's glaring at me and clucking her tongue and starts making comments, so I just told her as I passed "you wanna do something about that anger problem of yours, have a nice day" - so she got up and she HIT ME, quite hard, enough to make my ear ring, upside the head and starts screaming again.
I threatened to call the police but that just starts her up again, and the whole bus is staring now, and she's screaming about racism again, so I started to get off the bus, quite shaken. Why didn't I call the police? Because everyone is just trying to get to work, and that would inconvenience everyone. Bus drivers act like it's your fault if they have to stop, even if you've been mugged, even if you've been stabbed. (This happened, on the 43 last year.)
And as soon as someone plays the race card, that's it, it's over. What can you say back to that? "I didn't even notice your race until you pointed it out so kindly by shouting 'is it because I'm black' at me, at the top of your lungs." Actually, *you're* the racist for assuming that my motives for asking you to be quiet are something sinister because I'm white, when I'm just another office slob trying to get to work without being shouted at.
I was so shaken, shocked and in pain, my ears ringing, so I reacted on a purely instinctual level, sinking to her level. I spat at her, big gobby spit all over the bus, just before the doors closed. I'm not proud. I'd have been in my legal rights to deck her, since she threw the first punch. But as I walked away down Newton Street, then I started to shake, and to cry.
You don't know what's going through people's heads. I've been the crazy lady on the bus before, (though I've never actually hit anyone) and it's about what's going on in their head, not what you're doing. Still, doesn't make it any more pleasant.