Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The craziest stories always come from public transporation...
A couple years ago I was serving as a Mormon missionary. For any of you who don't know what that means, I was away from home (in Atlanta, Georgia) for two straight years living under strict rules and proselyting for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We had many rules regarding the opposite gender. We couldn't have girlfriends, go on dates, or even touch the opposite gender with the exception of shaking hands. Despite the fact that that probably sounds extremely limiting, I had the best time of my life. I had so many great experiences during that time, and I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.
The point of telling you about the stringency of the rules is to highlight the fact that the events in the following story were extremely shocking to me at the time, and are completely hilarious to me now.
My companion (the guy that's stuck with me for a roommate) and I were in the West Lake MARTA train station waiting for our ride to Five Points where we would switch trains. I walked over to the monitor to see how much time was remaining before the train would come. As I walked back over to my companion I noticed a strangely-dressed woman got off the elevator. She started walking beside me and I noted that she had a long-sleeve shirt tied around her head, and that her gut was hanging out of the bottom of her regular shirt. She had big eyes and was carrying an array of items. She turned and looked at me and rushed over to me (from only 6 feet away, this startled me!) She got right up in my face and asked, "Hey baby, wanna drink?" Holding up her Styrofoam cup. I politely said no thank you and did my best not to laugh. She then followed me over to my companion and started bugging him while I hid behind some other lady. (Real nice of me, right?) She dropped a little bag and said, "Oh! Gotta get my coin purse!" Elder Sheffield then said, "Oh, is that your coin purse?" She stood up, shoved him and said coyly, "No! It's not my coin purse!"
After a while of this sort of crazy-talk, the train finally came. Elder Sheffield and I rushed to the last car of the train so as to avoid this interesting woman. As fate would have it, she boarded our car just as the doors closed.
After a struggle to situate ourselves in a manner in which she could not sit by us, my companion ended up standing and I sat on an aisle seat just behind a kind-looking woman with her baby. The strange woman sat herself diagonally across from me and stared at me with her big eyes for about 10 seconds. She then came over to me slowly, held up her cup again and said, "Wanna drink?" To which I replied that I did not. She then sat down. She looked at me again and said, "Baby, how much does your watch cost?!" Wondering her intentions of asking I replied, "I don't know, but not very much." She then asked, "Baby, where are we going tonight?!" I nervously replied, "I don't know where you're going, but I'm going home." (At this point Elder Sheffield is laughing hysterically and the nice girl in front of me has taken to laughter now as well. She looked back at me a couple times to see how I was dealing with this barrage of questions.)
At this point the strange woman stood up and started grooming herself in the reflection of the windows behind me. She saw that her belly was hanging out and gasped and started tugging downward on her shirt. At this point everyone on this car is looking at her. She then sat down and asked if I could do her hair a certain way, and offered me a drink again. I told her I don't know much about doing hair, and to the drink offer I replied, "No, I don't drink alcohol." She said emphatically, "It's not alcohol!" I said, "It's not?" Her reply, "NO, it's PEACH!" (I wish you could all hear the impression of her voice in my head.)
Anyway, so we were coming up to the last station before Five Points where we would finally get off the train, and in a last ditch effort I asked her, "Is this your stop?" As dozens of tourists boarded the train she looked and me and shouted, "NoooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!" (The reply got progressively louder and louder.)
Super embarrassed now because everyone was watching me and laughing.
So we headed off toward our very last stop, and of course this was when she chose to slink down out of her seat onto her hands and knees, crawl over to me and grab my hand! She bent down slowly as I watched in horror and kissed my hand! (Not the weirdest thing ever, but you have to remember that EVERYONE is watching.) Then she bent even lower, and started rubbing her HEAD ON MY SHIN!!!! I was speechless and my companion was beet-red from laughing. Dozens of people were watching me freak out as she rubbed her head on me. Then we got to Five Points. I jumped up and fled from the woman Elder Sheffield close behind. The nice lady that was in front of me talked to us for a second on the platform and we offered her a free video, then we bolted down the escalator. We went to the north-south platform, the crowds parted and there she was again!!! We ran away again finally pausing when we could no longer see her. Some lady was there and she asked, "Are you still running from that woman!?"
Yeah, I was embarrassed at the time, but I think it's all hilarious now. I miss MARTA trains and the crazy people aboard them!