Monday, November 23, 2009
Bus to Monhonk
Admittedly I was reading a book about Jewish boys playing baseball, but I'm figuring that with a mind so cloudy her eyesight wasn't that preternaturally sharp. After all, I myself hadn't realised what the novel was about before I got it home. It's one of those books where the back cover is used up with flowery praise instead of pedestrian clues about genre, cast or plot. In many ways these books give the same high-minded message as the unpriced sparklers at Tiffany's: if you need to ask too many questions, plebeian consumer, you don't deserve to take me home.
The woman came over just as I'd decided to abandon my Apple Snapple and Chris had shrugged off my latest suggestion that we head to the gate. There was still fifteen minutes ("seventeen minutes", Chris insisted) before our bus left for New Paltz, but since it was the last one for three hours, I was getting twitchy.
The woman who sidled over was white-haired and conservatively dressed. She had her head was tucked defensively into her neck as if expecting a blow from adversaries unknown. Her words came out in an unruly flow, as if she hadn't spoken for a while.
"I don't know if you're Jewish or not, you should watch out because they're really antisemitic around here."
She was staring at Chris, ignoring me, seemingly oblivious to the fact he still had his headphones on.
"Don't go over there." She gestured wildly to the Greyhound Desk. "They'll sell you the wrong ticket. And if you go there..." This time she pointed down an unmarked corridor. "...they'll shut you in. You'll get locked in. And you won't be able to get out."
"Ok, erm, thank you," Chris replied.
The woman nodded twice, clutched her bags to her and set off in one of the directions she hadn't warned us against.
"What she say?"
Chris repeated what the woman had said. Seems I hadn't been hallucinating, although the speed and intensity with which she'd delivered her warning had seemed so out of step with the prosaic surroundings of the grimy Port Authority cafeteria.
"God knows what that was about," he concluded.
"It's your beard. It confuses people."
After that he let me drag him along to Gate 34. I left my abandoned Apple Snapple, in case one of the waifs and strays wanted to finish it. It seemed like that sort of place.