Friday, January 23, 2009

I am perfectly fine

Really, I'm totally okay. Remember that throughout this story.

Today was going to be a good day. I woke up early, had tea with Van Helsing, entered student grades (good ones!), led an easy and productive discussion section (hooray for peer review!), and had a great workout with Z2. Leaving school Z2 and I stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up snacks for the She God of Shark Reef's birthday and caught the bus home. I showered, spruced up, snacked, and left for The Museum of Jurassic Technology, where I was to meet Violesbian and the Mysterious X.

That's when the good day went south. Literally went south--I was southbound down Fairfax on the 217 bus when shit started to go down. Around Fairfax and Melrose, the Fairfax High students piled on; I had forgotten that 3:00-3:30 is the absolute worst time to take that bus. We were packed in tight, and I was standing in the alcove by the rear exit. A 25-to-30-ish-looking young black man in a blue jersey was holding the railing above my head, and his arm occasionally pressed uncomfortably against me, but that happens on crowded buses. I thought nothing of it.

As we continued south (between Melrose and Beverly at this point), I was reading The Nation and listening to Children of Eden, ignoring the crowds of raucous children as much as possible. The man in the blue jersey spoke to me; I took off my headphones and said, "excuse me?" He repeated what he had said, which was along the lines of, "Do you think it's kosher to talk like that?" I assumed that he was referring to something someone else had said to him, which I hadn't heard over my music, so I just responded, "I don't know," and went back to my magazine and music.

At a stop somewhere around Beverly, jerseyman suddenly (or it seemed sudden to me; I hadn't been following any conversations) threw open the rear doors of the bus, stepped out, and tore off his jacket and hurled it and his belongings down onto the sidewalk. He then leapt back through the still-open doors and started punching another man who was standing behind me. The bus remained stationary. The fist fight lasted for a few seconds, before the belligerent jerseyman left for good, grabbed his things from the sidewalk pavement, and strode off south. The back doors of the bus were stuck open because of his violent exit, and so the bus remained there while the bus driver attempted to close them. Eventually I and a nearby passenger reached out and forced the doors shut enough for him to be able to engage the closing mechanism, and we continued on. I returned to my music and magazine again, for a very short while. That's when the world exploded.

Suddenly (definitely suddenly this time), I was covered in broken glass, blood, and beer. My glasses were on the floor, my magazine was sodden, and people were staring at me. I blinked rather blindly at my surroundings and deduced that someone--presumably the furious jerseyman--had hurled a beer bottle straight through the window of the back door of the bus, the door I had so recently muscled closed, shattering both window and bottle on my head. My head was covered with small shards of glass, and judging from the reactions of the other passengers, I wasn't too pretty to look at. In a complete state of shock, I picked up my glasses and calmly made my way to the front of the bus.

My bag and shirt were as full of glass as my head, and I didn't know what to do about that. A kindly Latina woman with a blurry face (no glasses, remember) got off the bus, handed me several wipes to clean my head and face, and offered to get me an ambulance. A short, slight white man offered the same, as did the bus driver. It is possible that several other people made the same offer; I was in no shape to notice. I insisted that I was fine and would walk home. I was about a mile and a quarter away at that point, bleeding from my scalp, face, and collarbone-region, and mostly blind.

I called Violesbian and told her matter-of-factly that I wasn't going to make it to the museum. She and The Mysterious X decided that they wouldn't go either, and instead would come to take care of me. Hooray for friends!

I walked back north as far as the next trash can and began to brush the glass off of my head. The wipes were wonderfully useful, but without a mirror I had no way to know what needed real cleaning. I tottered on up the street to a gas station with a bathroom (thanks to the lovely bank manager at Wells Fargo who told me where the nearest public bathroom was), with only one woman on the way inquiring if I was okay.

On the way there I called the She God. Somehow it seemed to me that the most important thing I could be doing was letting her know that I might not make it to her party tonight. Being the true friend that she is, she came and picked me up off the street and drove me the rest of the way home. At that point I was shaking and slightly teary, but I'd had a chance to clean up a little in the bathroom and no longer looked like a horror movie survivor. I wasn't bleeding much anymore.

When we got home a few minutes later, the She God took charge of me and got me into the shower and out of my beer-and-glass-laden clothes. She sat me down and made me drink water and breathe. She Neosporined my head. She made things okay again. Then Viol and X arrived and continued to make things okay. They fed me soup, bought me hydrogen peroxide, and watched Star Trek and Golden Girls with me while I sat on the couch and just sort of stared.

That was all over about seven hours ago. My head has some tiny red spots, but only one noticeable scrape and no bleeding wounds. There is no glass on or in my person. I went to the birthday party after all, and saw the She God's many cute friends (and also the girls).

Thank you so very, very much, She God, X, and Viol, for taking care of me. Thank you, Fatso, my dial-a-doc medical advice service. Thank you, strangers on the bus who cared enough to give me wipes, help me through the crowd, and offer to hospitalize me. Thank you, woman on the sidewalk who wanted to know if I was okay. Thank you, beer bottle and window, for missing my eyes. Thank you, thick-frame glasses that didn't break, scratch, or bend. Thank you, Dame Fortune, for decreeing that this should happen scant days after I shaved my head, making the cleaning process much, much easier.

In the end, all is well. The day was still good, on balance. But I imagine I'll be having some anxiety the next time I take the 217 south during school rush hour. This was an adventure I don't care to repeat.


Marisa said...

holy crap. i'm glad you're ok.

Jamie said...

Yikes! I'm glad you're ok. That's really scary!

Leila said...

oh, bear!

i love you so.

Violet Vixen said...

That's quite a nickname. I'm glad you're OK and that you made it to the party.

amy jay said...

That sounds so scary!
I'm glad you're okay, and worried that you're not really okay. Are you really okay?