Thursday, May 15, 2008

Metro Journal: May 15 Perfume: The Next Terrorist Threat?

This morning I got to the stop for my first bus 5 minutes early. That bus also got there 5 minutes early, or maybe 25 minutes late. And, as I saw another one go by 5 minutes later while I was waiting for a 780 (having once again waved bye-bye at one from across the street) I'm pretty sure it was the latter, which is extremely odd for a line that is very rarely running late.

There are 2 long slab benches at that stop. I sit on the only street-facing part wide enough to accommodate my not-unreasonably wide hips, which means I'm between a pile of leafy detritus on one side and on the other, a spot of... something.

Now, I have this thing about personal space. If situations are crowded and someone sits right next to me, that's fine and normal. If there are two 6' long slab benches and no one is sitting on the other one, please stay more than 4" away from me. Kthnxnbai!

But, no, a man who is probably nearing 60 sits down right next to me, on the leafy detritus. Then he pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket and says he'd like to share something with me. I sense another Watchtower coming and start to consider my exit options. He opens the paper and I can see it's an email that has been forwarded a number of times.

Now, the only emails that get forwarded with headers intact more than 2 or 3 times are either links to YouTube videos of teenage boys practicing their lightsaber skills or they are dire warnings meant to inspire panic in the public, one forwarded email at a time.

The email in this man's hand was the latter. He insists on reading it aloud to me while he underlines the words with his finger. The email warns that so far 7 women have died after sniffing perfume samples. I knew they shouldn't have let Britney Spears make her own perfume! Anyway, all women are supposed to throw away any samples of perfume, lotion, make-up, etc., that they receive in the mail because they may be poisoned! The government knows, of course, what's going on and suspects it's a new terrorist attack, but the news doesn't cover it for fear that it will cause widespread panic. (Like that would stop the media.)

This thing reeks of "urban legend.". One of my former roommates knew every urban legend in the book, and after I got him an encyclopedia of urban legends, then he really did know every one in the book. But back on the bench I just smile and thank the man when he finishes. Saying anything else would have sparked a painful and prolonged conversation, and the naproxen I had taken earlier had only just started making a dent in my sore neck.

(I checked when I got home, and sure enough: or )

He says, "God bless you," and mercifully moves on to save the next hapless woman. When the next bus, a 181 comes, he gets on, ensuring my short-term safety from the gullible do-gooders.

You have to admit, though, that that email makes a pretty good rationalization tool for men who want to approach and save all of us defenseless females from our vanity.

Anyway, I ended up waiting at least 15 minutes for the next 780.

I get out of work at 6 and as no one else is waiting for the DASH, I start walking to Western. A 207 shows up, so we all walk up to that. While both the 207 and 757 stop at the northwest block of Melrose and Western, the 757 stops just past the intersection but the 207 stops halfway up the block, so you'll see this swarm of people moving between the two depending which line is coming. The 207 shows first, so we all hike halfway up the block, but it's really full and then just as the 207 is opening its doors, we see a 757 stopped across the intersection at the light, so a bunch of us hike down there. We only get there a minute ahead of the 207 (a Local, so more stops) but there was more room, and the 757s are much newer buses so the foam on the seats still has some padding qualities left.

The 757 stops kitty corner from my 780 stop. The light to cross Western is green when we get there, but while waiting for the light to change so I can cross Hollywood Blvd, I notice that the orange Local bus at the stop isn't really an orange Local bus. It's a Stealth 780! The Metro Rapid buses are usually red, but occasionally a Rapid will end up on an orange bus or a Local on a red one. It can be very confusing when you've become trained to expect a specific color and then stop paying attention when it's the wrong one.

But, of course, the Stealth 780 pulls away just as the light changes so we can cross the street. And it takes awhile for the next one to come.

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