Saturday, March 19, 2011

etiquette, pt 2

you best believe there is a reasonable potential for an encounter with a homeless person on an la mta train.  the fare collection system isn't exactly air tight and on a very hot or cold day the trains are a mighty tempting refuge from the elements.  something i've come to learn about homeless people is they don't always get to pick their place of bodily elimination.  if you wrapped up nice and tight in the two blankets you got, temperature's just above freezing  and nature calls, i understand if you don't wanna get up to pick up the phone.

well, these two phenomena sometimes combine and people's reaction can be pretty telling.  some people come down the aisle and when the wall of odor hits, they turn back around.  some people who can't find distant enough refuge cover up their nose and mouth with their shirt.  all of these folks go out of their way to make some kind of "gross!" face, convinced that such emoting helps take everyone else's mind off the topic.  some people get to talking, making sure they're loud enough for all to hear.  terms such as "gas mask," "shower" and "stank" are common.  often, said speakers are wearing some kind of baller crucifix-oriented necklace or bad-ass image of virgin mary.

as i'm getting off, a 14- or 15-year old cross between d-nice and coolio taps the homeless person on the shoulder.  "hey, lady, looks like you could use this more than me," he says as he passes her several green bills.

a "thank you, sweetie, you don't need to do that" charismatic and genuine enough to make it onto stankonia comes from her, but he insists.  "oh, thank you, sweetie," she says again as the train door closes behind me.

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