Monday, October 25, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010 afternoon

#4 - northbound after work

1. The bag lady was on the bus today. I assume she's homeless because why else would she carry around so many bags, but they're really nice bags. She has at least two small insulated cooler bags and at least one Vera Bradley bag, or at least it looks like a Vera Bradley bag. When she's on the bus, it's a Tuesday or Thursday. She's on before I get on and then gets off at Orsmby, which has the Puritan Apartments at that intersection. That building used to be a fancy hotel but now provides assisted living for seniors.

The bag lady is heavyset with tight blond ringlets and bright red lipstick. She looks a bit like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane but less scary. I have not seen a bird on a serving platter yet. She has a personal shopping cart that holds about 5 bags. Then she sits with a bag in her lap and two smaller bags, one of which goes across her shoulders and one of which is a canvas bag she carries like a purse. When she gets off the bus, she puts the big bag on top of the pile on the cart, hangs one bag across her shoulders, grabs the canvas bag, and then slowly maneuvers the cart off the bus. Everything seems clean and put together, but why does she have so many bags and where is she coming from? I have seen her walking at that intersection before without the cart and bags.

2. I got off at Broadway even though I was going home and could have waited 5 more stops, but I wanted the walk. I had my headphones on during the ride and on my walk. I had just crossed 6th Street at Jefferson when two men approached me from the steps by City Hall. There was a large garbage bag near them. One man hung back but the other said Excuse me ma'am so I took out one of my headphones.

Man: Do you have your wallet?
I shake my head slowly
Man: The reason I ask, as he motions toward the bus stop. Someone left their wallet on the bus and you were sitting in front of me. Did you drop your wallet?
Me: Oh, no, I'm fine. Thanks.

I walk away with some middle-class guilt because I thought he was asking me for money. I did tuck my hand into my bag and my pocketbook was there. But, really, the phrasing of the question was awkward, especially from a stranger on the street. I don't know who sat behind me because I was watching the bag lady in front of me. And just this morning the 60 Cent Lady asked me for money downtown, so I had pan-handling on my mind.

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