This is one of several comedy essays from my unpublished book 72 PEOPLE I’VE MET ON THE SUBWAY. This particular story is laced with curses, mostly of the “F’ variety. If this offends you, please go away. Go away now. No, seriously, I don’t want to hear it.
Go, I say! Thank you.
Loud, Angry, Loud Cell Phone Girl (6)
So there we were, strangers on a, well, a bus (but still MTA-owned so it’s fair game). I had just come from a movie. A woman nearby just came from work. Some teenage kids talked – they sounded as if they’d just come from Illiteracy 101. Then there was…the girl. I suspect she came straight from hell.
She was…The Loud, Angry, Loud Cell Phone Girl.
Just to put this in perspective: this is New York City. We’re still prepared for the possibility of another terrorist attack. We know (read as: hope) the police have new systems in place…but we don’t really know what their plan is (read as: we’re screwed, really). Will there be a loudspeaker system, telling us where to go? Will the Times Square signs all flash a signal that tells us to stay indoors? Will there, perhaps, be the sounding of an alarm?
It was only but a few months since that tragedy struck downtown and left the entire city stricken.
When the Evil One’s phone rang it gave everyone a start. The piercing noise was less “ring” and more “alarm” – a much appreciated option of ringtone to be sure (someone complain to Verizon for me, will you?). And when I say it gave everyone “a start,” what I mean is that everyone on the bus considered kissing New York City bus-floor, if only for a moment.
But it wasn’t just her choice in ringtone, it was the sound level. The phone was in her purse, yet the sound seemed to emanate from all around us.
So, I stared for a moment, with that squinting, perturbed look we all keep in our back pocket. The one that says “What is wrong with you?” And her response to this stare was a defensive string of curses – some of which I’d never even heard before – aimed at me and other passengers who were also staring her way. It was clear she’d had this reaction before, and her response was well-rehearsed.
Between “effs” and “yous” she further explained her disdain for the rest of the people on the bus, and the human race in general, and explained that our disapproving looks were not warranted – although, I believe the exact turns of phrase she used were as follows: “What the fuck you fuckers staring the fuck at, you muthuhfuckers, who the fuck you think you all are?! My phone can ring any fuckin’ way I want it to ring the fuck of fuck buh-fuckity-fucky fucko fuck mah fee-fi-fo fuck-ata-fuck-a-rolleefuck!”
When the dust had settled and her maw had finally shut, leaving children crying and the two virgins in the back with their cherries popped, I smiled wide and leaned in towards her with Dean Martin-like calm: “I honestly don’t know what impresses me more,” I said overflowing with the joie de vivre of an Italian Crooner, “your ladylike demeanor or your lovely countenance.”
And, just to punctuate the moment, and prove I meant what I said, I smirked a flirtatious smirk and winked a friendly wink.
The bus had just then reached my stop, so I wished her “a delightful evening.” She, ever the examplar of class, bade me farewell with a wave…
Of her middle finger.