Friday, September 11, 2009

Wearing a Cloud for a Hat

My rides to work are often very quiet. Sometimes I get a chatty driver but mostly the drivers are polite, efficient and silent. This is probably due to my being their first pick up of the day. Not even coffee can energize that hour. Other passengers, too, tend to be quiet, lost in thought gazing out the window. This is fine for me, I'm good to chat, I'm good to watch the city go by ... I'm flexible.

Yesterday morning, though, was a bit different. The driver, right off, apologized and said that the schedule was going to have me zig zagging through the city but, not to worry, I'd be at work on time. So we set about zigging and zagging, picking up and dropping off. Finally we stopped to pick up one last passenger before I was to arrive at work.

She came out of the building with a walker and a huge department store bag. I saw her talking to the driver before I could hear her. When he openned the door I knew I was hearing a fine, aged, whine. I caught a whiff of an unusual scent as she clipped the seatbelt into place. A scent that grew stronger as we travelled.

She complained all the way in. Sat down beside me, I was looking resolutely out the window. She didn't care, she wasn't talking to someone she was simply talking. We heard about three hip replacements and seven surguries on her knees. We heard about disrespectful doctors. Horrible hospitals. Uncaring nurses. Reprobate family members. We heard about her son, who had to go to the hospital tomorrow because "he probably has something serious". She was going to take him because he can't afford a taxi, she can get him there via WheelTrans, 'Mommies do these things, but are Mommies appreciated?' She didn't answer the question, but I'm guessing it was 'no'.

You know those people who can suck the air out of a room with their gloomy outlook on life. The one's that find sadness in every situation? Well, this was her way. She was glorying in all the doom and gloom and pain and victimization, 'poor me' had never been happier!

As we turned onto Weston road ... I could feel the office, a beacon for me ... she pointed at a Big Rig truck and said, 'My husband drove those for years.' 'Oh, yes,' I said while privately thinking, 'oh no, where is this going to go?' Suddenly I recognized the scent. It was the smell of hope, dead and mouldering on the floor.

'You know what happened to him?'

'No.'

'He's in a home.'

'I'm sorry.'

'Worked hard all his life and ended up crazy.'

'Tragic,' I said meaning it. At that point I'd used up my entire daily supply of sympathy (excepting of course for that little cache I've got set aside for emergency bouts of self pity).

'I call him and he tells me to call back, I do but he doesn't answer.'

"Um," I thought to myself, "I'm not so sure that's actually 'crazy'".

9 comments:

Brad said...

My mother in law is like that. Not the chatty bit, but the complaining and the martyring of herself. Once she claimed that 'Jesus would not have the patience she has had'. Can you wonder why I want to move away? lol

wendy said...

If not for the fact that you were in Toronto and my mother lives nowhere near there I would swear you had met her. She can wear me down in 5 minutes flat with her negative take on everything and everyone. Makes me think of a joke-y song from Hee Haw (yes, i'm that old) "Gloom, despair and agony on me,
Deep dark depression, excessive misery,
if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all,
Gloom despair and agony on me" (Sing along now...don't forget the twang!)

Belinda said...

Some people are just toxic. I've come across them in doctor's waiting rooms and other places where they have a reluctant but captive audience, just like your bus lady did. It is a chronic affliction to be trapped, even temporarily in the same room.

ivanova said...

There's a woman kind of like that at the pool where I swim. The actual content of what she's saying is fairly neutral but she radiates bad boundaries and despair, an annoying kind of despair that I'm not sure how to describe. And like the woman on the bus, she wants to start talking the moment she enters the changing room, regardless of what the people are doing or whether she's ever met them before. I've trained her not to speak to me while I am dressing (by not responding to her at all until I am clothed.) I don't mind talking to her briefly, but I refuse to be harassed when I have no clothes on.

theknapper said...

You made me laugh.....thanks.

Anonymous said...

My mother-in-law could find the black cloud behind every rainbow.
Still, annoying though it was to listen, I couldn't help but think how much worse it must be for her, living inside her head.

OhWheely . . said...

I wonder why her husband went crazy . .. ?

Can't imagine.

He sounds quite sane to me lol

Heather

Anonymous said...

I have a co-worker just like that..... she will complain to anything with ears!! it is like she can suck the positivity right out of you. And the sad part is she often complains about when others complain aghhhhhhh!!! Some day i hope she realizes that she is merely reaping what she sews!!

CJ said...

I call people like that "energy vampires."

One of my disabled clients has a mother like that. Now that my client is an adult, I deal directly with her. What a relief!