After work last night I got out of the subway at Bedford to prepare for the usual 30-block Greenpoint trudge. There was a small crowd at the bus stop so I asked a guy, who was taller than I am, if he saw any sign of the b61, a.k.a. "the Godot of buses." He didn’t. BUT, he said, "That girl over there–see her?" "Who, Green-Skirt McGee?" "Yeah, see her?" "Yes." "She left her cell phone in a cab and she’s so drunk that she is LITERALLY hailing every cab she sees, thinking it’s the cab she left her phone in, and she hails them and then scrambles around on the floor and sends them away." Now I enjoy a misuse of "literally" as much as any David Cross nerdo, but it turns out my new friend was right. This girl was hailing every cab and doing exactly what he said. It was disturbing, by which I mean "annoying and embarrasing on behalf of humanity." She finally listened to reason and had one of her friends call her lost phone–the guy on the other end, probably a worker at the taxi garage, was as cooperative as he could be to three drunkies yelling on the street and freaking out about how SUPER URGENT IMPORTANT this drunk girl’s phone was. Now maybe I’m just careless or have gotten used to a life of losing stuff, but a long time ago I learned to let things go when I lost them. I figured–I am Forgetful Jones and I deserve to lose things if I can’t keep track of them. It’s not someone else’s fault I can’t pass’ auf meine Sache, as they say in Germany. ("pay attention to my stuff," keep up). My dad told me a long time ago that all material possessions are either replaceable or forgettable, and if you throw a shitfit about the loss of one, unless it is some sort of priceless family heirloom like my Bumpa’s writing desk (which, by the way, is massive and weighs about 200 pounds and would thus be pretty difficult to lose), it makes you seem like a spoiled brat. I think the shitfits I used to throw about my missing New Kids on the Block dolls or whatever really made my dad depressed that I was turning into an asshole. And don’t get me wrong–there are a lot of things I’ve lost over the years that I wish I still had. My purse in 1995 on a German bus (though that, technically, was "stolen"), 25 CDs on a plane in 1996 (my brother implored me at this point, "just don’t get on a boat or you’ll lose something else"), various umbrellas and gloves during runs of rainy/cold weather…you just live without stuff. Besides a minimal amount of food, shelter, and running water, you can LIVE without everything. So seeing this obnoxious drunk girl screeching at her friends last night, "SCREW YOU, SCREW YOU, SCREW YOU," it made me really ashamed, not only of how spoiled she seemed, but how spoiled we all are (I know, bear shits in woods, pope wears dumb hat, film at 11).
Then my new friend and I discussed the particulars of the b61 not showing up. "Where do you live?" he asked (in New York this question is perfectly acceptable to ask total strangers). "No man’s land," I explained, helpfully. He asked if I wanted to share a cab. I hemmed and hawed, too recently off a nice run of a $3/day budget to waste an entire $3 on a sped-up version of a trudge I do alone pretty much every night. So I said, "look, I’m going to just walk it and then the bus will show up when I’m in the middle of McCarren park, as usual" (this phenomenon is what my friend Adam terms the "Fuck You Bus" and happens to me all the damn time). Then he asked what my name was (this question is much more personal to me than "Where do you live?" but I answered it anyway). Then he said, "You know what’s hilarious?" I didn’t. "That’s my bike right there." And it was–in true my-mother fashion, he’d ridden his bike to Bedford earlier in the day and then forgotten about it. "Huh," I said. "I guess you should take your bike home." "I’m going to," he said, "but then I’ll be deserting you." "I can handle it," I said. Then he rode away and I walked home, feeling slightly better about humanity but mostly just allergic to cats.