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You hear that?

September 3, 2008

Thank you to the citizens of Minneapolis for not ALL being total whack-jobs.

I finished up a little earlier than anticipated this afternoon, which meant either walking down the street for another cup of coffee, or just waiting it out at the bus stop. I didn’t have a terribly ample amount of time to kill, so I opted for the bus stop option. I had my iPod, Pride and Prejudice, and a notebook to jot down some ideas, and while it was terribly humid today, the temperature wasn’t unbearable and the day was over– no use trying to save my hair from the elements. All in all, it didn’t seem like such a terrible deal.

…until some dude smoking three cigarettes at once decided loitering in my general area was a good idea.

It didn’t bother me, being out there by myself, because it was the middle of the afternoon and there were 20 to 30 other people waiting for various buses. What’s going to happen, right? Too bad I was so nonchalant about taking a seat on an empty bench in an empty section of the shelter, because apparently that just invited the wackos to come a-visitin’.

Mr. TripleCig kept inching closer and closer to me, as I tried to ignore the fact that he was doing so by scribbling away in my little notepad, bobbing my head along to the Josh Ritter wonderfulness flowing from my earbuds. When he’d finally inched a bit too close for comfort, one mere glance up was enough to inspire him to skip away quickly– but not too far away. I watched him walk the 20 feet or so to people gathered on the sidewalk and approach what looked like a couple as if he knew them personally. He walked up, shook hands, and patted the man on his arm. It was clear by the looks on their faces, though, that they had no idea who he was. I let my iPod play on–I really wasn’t interested in what he had to say, they looked like they could take care of themselves, and as long as he wasn’t talking to me, I was content.

I went back to my notebook, but his new “friends” must not have been so receptive, because in less than five minutes he was sitting on the next bench, asking me rather loudly (um hi! iPod for a reason!) if I thought the weather was going to get better or worse. I responded with a shrug and “I don’t know, probably better,” hoping it was pacify him and inspire him to get the eff away from me with his cigarette smoke already. No such luck, though, friends. No such luck.

He started mumbling something or another that I couldn’t understand– asking questions which I was just grunting responses to because I had no friggin’ clue what was coming out of his mouth. I’d nod or shake my head depending on the tone of voice I perceived to spew from his lips: That seemed to keep him muttering fairly harmlessly.

…until he started chanting, “Something don’t feel right. Something don’t feel right,” over and over and OVER again.

You’re creepin’ me out dude, and I’d just like to listen to Josh Ritter please. Thanks.

Every now and then in his chant, he’d stop, bring his finger to his lips and in true “use your number 2 voices, kids!” fashion, would exclaim, “Shhhhhh!” He’d stare into space for roughly ten seconds before asking, “You hear that?” and then resuming the “something don’t feel right,” chant.

A police siren went off somewhere in the distance, which caused him a mighty start, in which he leapt from his seat, pointed, and wide-eyed, exclaimed, “YOU HEAR THAT?!”

He then sat quietly back down to resume the chant once again.

Seriously disturbed.

Of course, I wanted to get up and just walk away, but I had nowhere to walk to, other than the sidewalk 20 feet away, and I was afraid of what that might provoke. I had my phone in hand the entire time, and as I glanced around me, I noticed two men, seemingly having nothing to do with each other, on the sidewalk, very obviously watching what was going on, and apparently ready to jump in and take care of a situation if it arose. That’s what I perceived, and oh, was I so grateful for that.

They were probably also thinking, “Stupid, stupid girl.”
Yes, I am.

Note to self: No matter how long you have to wait for the bus, do not sit in shelter, even if it is only 20 feet and very visible from the sidewalk. Crazy people don’t care. Join the rest of civilization on the sidewalk.

Lesson learned.

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