I never wish death upon anyone. But when you’re counting down the days until you croak and you’re generally a horrible person, that’s when I might second-guess whether you contribute more to society dead or alive. The M15 bus I was on last night pulled to a stop around 72nd Street to pick up the meanest old lady alive. She had a walker, so the driver brought down the wheelchair lift. As the lift started to descend, from the middle of the bus, I could hear her outside: “WATCH IT! You’re going to take MY ARM off!”
When the lift brought her up to the floor level, she immediately snapped at another old lady sitting behind the driver, “MOVE YOUR BAG… NOW!” The bag wasn’t even in her way; it was on the floor between the other old lady’s legs. There was plenty of clearance on either side for her walker. The woman sat down across two seats and then forced the bus driver to lift up the two seats in front of her, usually reserved for wheelchairs, to she could put her walker there. “FOLD THOSE UP,” she yelled to the driver. Apparently, she saw no need to fold up her easily-compacted walker instead.
Around 57th Street, a woman trying to get off the bus literally tripped over her walker, which was sticking out into the aisle.
Would the old lady apologize for nearly tripping a passenger? Hell no. Instead, she lashed out at that passenger. “WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING, YOU IDIOT!”
The tripped passenger couldn’t believe it. “Sorry! I’m so sorry,” she responded, in a sincere manner, trying to avoid the wrath of this evil woman.
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? YOU PEOPLE HAVE NO COURTESY! YOU’RE A MORON,” was her apparent acceptance of the apology.
At this point, I literally wanted to yell back at the woman and voice my disgust. I opened my mouth, but then I stopped myself. I was a little hesitant, as I was struggling with the ethics of yelling at a mean old lady. Looking back, it was probably a good idea to keep my mouth shut: I had forty more blocks to go, and this lady was so mean that she was probably a lost cause. It’s not like a 24-year-old’s lecture would make an 85-year-old have an epiphany about the way she treats her fellow man.
The tension between the old lady and the other passengers had reached absurd proportions by the time I got off at 14th Street. After I got off, did that lady make anyone else’s life living hell on that M15 bus as it rumbled towards Lower Manhattan? I may never know, but at least I can sleep at night knowing that she’ll probably kick the bucket soon.