Monday, December 01, 2008

Crazy is as crazy does

As I wait for the bus home from work, I often think of my Morning Friend and Afternoon Friend from when I last used to take that route. My Morning Friend has moved to Fairfax and, while my Afternoon Friend has the same job as before, I now take a later bus than she does so we rarely see one another.

My Morning Friend came from a conservative culture and had many problems with her husband, most of which could have been solved if it wasn't her duty to be subservient to him. Things were sort of working out when Jack and I moved to Brussels, as she had started a job (against his wishes) that would supplement the family income and allow them to be more stable financially. She was disappointed that I was moving to Belgium, because France was so much more cosmopolitan.

My Afternoon Friend was...different. She was an African-American acrophobic lesbian who seemed to have been raised in a culture that didn't tolerate differences very well. She had an unusual world view that included neither George Washington or Native Americans. She was being courted by the Jehovah's Witnesses but seemed to be playing them for the attention and free food it afforded. She would get agitated when the bus wouldn't come in a timely manner and begin cursing. She was, it must be said, a little bit out there. Crazy would not be too far a stretch.

I was thinking about them the other evening while waiting for my bus. It was dark, and there were three others waiting with me, all wrapped up in themselves, one using her cell phone, one smoking. I found the scrap of paper I had used to take down JW's phone number in the morning in my pants pocket, and so I eased past the woman on her phone to put it in the recycling can. She scooted half a foot to the right to accommodate me and then returned to her original spot. A minute or so later I put my hands in my coat pocket and discovered an empty seltzer water can that I had been sipping on at a meeting and kept with me because I didn't know where the recycling containers were in the building. I walked over to the recycling again and put the can in, again forcing the woman to move out of my way. I then decided to discover if there was anything else I could throw away. I came up with a receipt from the post office, which was on that thermal fax-like paper, so I went back to the trash can to throw it out (NB: apparently this may actually be recyclable). By this point the cell phone talker had vacated the immediate vicinity so I had no problems. I felt around some more and came up with a shopping list from the previous week on a Post-it and chucked it in the recycling.

At this point I realize I've just been pacing back and forth between my spot and the recycling/trash four times over five to six minutes. I begin thinking how bizarre, how CRAZY, that must look to the three other people, and then. Then I start giggling uncontrollably. I turn my back to the others so that they won't see that I am laughing. And can't stop. It was funny to think other people might think that I was crazy. And then I thought to myself, maybe this is what all crazy people think: the hilarity of others' interpretations of their actions, which to them are totally rational. Could it be that I'm going down that slippery slope? How wonderfully freeing it would be.

Here are some photos that I am reliably informed amply demonstrate my crazitude.