bad stuff happens to me. a lot.
now, i realize i bring a lot of it on myself, in that i'm exceedingly clumsy. but the way my life works is that if there is only one faulty paper coffee cup in the whole lot, it will be the one starbucks gives me, and not only will i drip coffee down my shirt on my way to something important, but i will slip and fall on the coffee that dripped to the marble floor in the important building's entryway.
and it's not always totally my fault. like, there was the infamous boston trip wherein a 3 hour drive turned into 7.5, included a thunderstorm, going the wrong way on a one-way street, peeing in an alcove on the harvard campus, my sister losing her wallet in a port-o-potty, finding ourselves in the center of the end of a car chase that resulted in six cops with their guns drawn pulling some guy out of his car window and throwing him into a paddy wagon all of 20 feet away from us, and our would-be whale-watching ship going up in flames (i swear).
so it comes as great surprise to me when unfortunate things happen to people who are not me. like Crazy Aunt Purl's unbelievable flaming-bus story.
and also like the unfortunate CoffeeGirl, who i "met" ("met" = "witnessed") this morning.
CoffeeGirl and her friend were waiting at the bus stop with me. they both had coffee from starbucks. i do not get coffee before getting on muni because you're a.) not supposed to (and i tend to follow rules like that because i'm afraid of getting yelled at) and b.) i know myself and know i will spill. so i envy people who do get their coffee before the bus and enjoy it on the bus while i have to watch them and wait for my caffeine fix.
the bus arrived and it was packed. which i hate. usually it's not too bad, since i usually get on an earlier bus (but these days i'm trying to figure out which bus CutieCute gets on so that i can captivate him by, possibly, if i get the nerve, making eye contact, i'm so lame).
but because the bus was packed (and, btw, totally devoid of CutieCute) i have to stand and hold on, packed in with about a million other people, and i'm not very good at this. and CoffeeGirl ends up on the opposite side of the aisle, a few feet in front of me, holding on with one hand while holding her coffee in another. and i have to wonder how good at this she is, too.
at this point, i would like to remind you that i live in san francisco. you know, sf? the place with the hills? yeah.
so while we're stopping and going, stopping and going (as buses do, especially on this line) something happens. i can't see the street ahead of us, but whatever it is that happens, it causes the bus to make an incredible and unexpected downhill lurch.
the entire busload of us lost our balance and collectively lurched along with the bus. there was a group "whoa!" and some people even let out near-screams, because it is really not fun to smoosh into bus people (especially not really hard). i think people would have fallen if there hadn't been so many people to fall into. we all just lurched really hard. as did CoffeeGirl. and CoffeeGirl's coffee.
i swear to you, i am not making this up: CoffeeGirl's coffee flew up, out of her cup, in a geyser-like fashion. it absolutely covered the roof of the bus above where she and a handful of others were standing. it covered her coat. it covered her face. it covered the woman behind her's coat, face, and hair.
people didn't know what to do.
CoffeeGirl didn't know what to do.
so for a few seconds she just stood there, dumbfounded. she was tall, and quite large, and was standing in the middle of a crowded bus drenched in (i'm guessing here, by color and smell) a latte. droplets were streaming down her face. and the face of the woman next to her. and raining from the bus roof.
(and for some unbelievable reason, not dripping on me. how i avoided this is surely some cosmic accident.)
and so the bus started up again. and we all stood there, hushed. and at the next stop, CoffeeGirl got off to go clean herself. the rest of the bus just stayed silent.
and smelled of coffee.