As you might imagine, growing up in Los Angeles, I have seen my share of crazies and weirdos. What’s more is that hotspots for these crazies and weirdos are at the beach and downtown, and it just so turns out that I went to school at the beach and my parents now live in downtown Los Angeles, so that’s where I go home to during breaks.

I think it goes without saying that nothing surprises me very much anymore. Crazy man taking a dump at a bus stop? Awesome. Gothic teenager with a 10 inch green Mohawk and more piercings than you ever could have hoped to imagine possible skating down the beach? Almost artistic. The craziest encounters, however, happen on the bus.

I remember in high school when my friend, GJ, and I rode the public bus (as opposed to the usual school bus) home. First, I have to state that my school was at the Pacific Palisades, just north of Santa Monica, which itself is the third city west from Los Angeles and right at the beach. It was a forty minute drive to get to school on the 10 West, so you might be able to imagine how long a ride on the public bus system might be. Figure about a couple hours.

We ended up either getting on the wrong bus or not getting off at the right stop to transfer to another bus. Whichever one it was, we ended up taking the long way home, and by the long way, I mean longer even with our decision to ride the public bus in mind. When we got on the bus, I sat down next to the window and GJ sat in the row behind me but put his backpack on the seat next to the window and sat at the seat nearer to the aisle.

We were on the bus a long time and it was pretty uneventful until we got to this one stop. A homeless lady – who obviously had some sort of mental disability – got on the bus with a gallon jug of milk, except it was partially filled with some kind of liquid (I like to hope that it was water). This is where my unfortunate encounter begins.

Of all the seats, she decides she’s going to sit next to me. As she sits down, GJ gives me a look of pity because we are both Los Angelenos, and we both know what to expect. The whole time, the lady is muttering to herself (or to something or someone else) angrily. Five minutes later, she starts knocking on the air. Yes, the air. It wasn’t so bad, though, until she start knocking the air near my head.

Eventually, she gets to the point where she is knocking the air three inches in front of my face as well as other areas that are in close proximity to my head. I’m sitting there pushed all the way up against the window feeling pretty annoyed while she is knocking the hell out of those air molecules. I wasn’t exactly scared. Like I said, it was to be expected, but it was still annoying.

I don’t know how long this went on, but eventually, we stopped near Santa Monica High School where a very large number of freshmen (and other students who might as well have been freshmen) got on. One of the kids had a paper box of food with no top. I don’t remember if they were fries or nachos but everyone on the bus could smell the food and the homeless lady wanted some. She kept staring at him, and he noticed her staring, so, being unable to move away from her because of the crowded bus, he turned away.

Then, to everyone’s surprise (but not really to anyone’s surprise), she lunged at him. Well, not at him, but at the food. There was jumping and cursing, and I don’t really remember what happened after that. All I remember is that when she left, the floor and the seat next to me where the lady was sitting was wet with something that I prayed to God wasn’t urine.

When we got off the bus, GJ and I walked home talking and laughing loudly at our little adventure. The next day at school, our story – and consequently ourselves – were quite the hit.

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