10 November 2006

I Only Look at Pretty People

When I got on the overcrowded M16 this morning, a woman in the seat closest to the door was loudly complaining that “only ugly people bother her.”

“Isn’t that funny,” she asked, “pretty people never bother me. Only ugly people.” It took me a few seconds to figure out that she wasn’t talking to anyone in particular, but the bus at large.

“Starting with the bus driver. He’s the first ugly person who bothered me today. I wonder how many I’ll get today. I’ll start a list. I bet I get 20.”

The woman next to her stood up, preparing to get off.

“When are you going to Spain,” she asked. She either knew the woman or had made the mistake of engaging her earlier in the trip. It’s hard not to engage the crazy.

“What, you’re trying to get rid of me?”

“Not at all. It just seems like you need a vacation.”

“Two weeks. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to be around pretty people again. New York has gotten so ugly. Have you noticed that? Everyone is ugly.”

Fortunately at this point, I was able to move back in the bus, so there was no risk of my looking directly at her. I sensed that would bother her, and I would end up on her list of ugly people. She herself was, by the way, reasonably attractive.

I could still hear her chattering away about ugly and pretty people, but I was far enough away to tune her out, until, a few blocks on, there was an eruption. She must have picked on someone other than the driver, because the whole front of the bus yelled at her at once. A woman standing next to me took her on.

“Shut up about ugly people. People are not ugly based on what they look like. They’re ugly on the inside, and you’re ugly. You are the ugliest person on this bus.” She went on like this for a few paragraphs, comparing the woman to her son, to her 1-year-old niece, without explanation; the pretty woman’s taunts escalated.

“How old are you? I’m 37, you see how good I look. You look like you’re 51,” which prompted the woman next to me to respond, “Your Mama, your Mama, your Mama, your Mama, your Mama should never have given birth to you. Look at me in my face and call me ugly. You can’t do it.”

“I only look at pretty people.”

Et cet.

The pretty woman got off the bus at Macy’s; passengers cheered.

2 Comments:

Blogger Custancia said...

I cannot imagine a discussion like that occuring on a bus in York - New York must be SO different!!

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Stacy Horn said...

Great story!

6:48 PM  

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