Staycation Day 4, Part 1: Did those girls just rob a PetSmart?


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Published: August 27th 2012
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I know it's been a while, a long while, since my last post. I'm nursing a repetitive stress injury, so bear with me. Here is the final day of my staycation, in all its glory...

So, it was the last day of my staycation and my brain was not sufficiently decompressed. Plus, I hadn't really DONE anything yet. I rested. I nearly missed putting my own eye out. But these are things I could do any day. I needed a day that FELT like a vacation. So with the help of my iPhone, I made a plan.

I love technology when it's not smacking me in the forehead. Consulting my iPhone, knower of all things, I discovered that I could take BART into the city and a bus to Golden Gate Park, where I could easily jaunt to any one of the wonderful museums or gardens there. Or should that be therein?

The BART train was filled with Giants fans, sporting shiny orange jackets and caps and bags and foam fingers. The good people of suburbia were heading out for the game. Kids vibrated with excitement. I had the '80s playlist playing on my iPhone while I watched the pantomiming people. Soft Cell played Tainted Love, the original version. The long version. The best version, all angsty yet dance-able.

Google Maps told me which stop to take, and walked me, step-by-step to the bus stop, even telling me when the bus would arrive, which happened to be right at that moment. How perfectly convenient, and how smug I felt, with my exact change prepared, my "Can I have a transfer," ready at the lips, just like a regular taker of buses.

The first half of the ride was just your average, run of the mill, word-problem. Three people got off the bus. Four got on. The bus driver's name was not Julie, as far as I knew. The bus got crowded for a while, standing room only, and a woman wearing super-high heels stood next to my seat wobbling precariously as the bus lurched and stuttered along. The bus emptied as we moved out of the Chinese neighborhood, through the seedier, project-looking apartments, and into the Russian part of the city. There the bus filled up again, and a sixty-something woman, also with too-high-heels, dyed blond bouffant hair, and garrishly drawn on, fire-engine-red lips got on the bus and started yelling at me in Russian. Two things dawned on me. She wanted me to get up so she could sit next to her friend. And she was a dead ringer for my dead grandmother. I gave her my seat.

When the Russians disembarked, I found another seat near the rear doors. This suited me better. The Cure whined, "Let me go o-on, like a blister in the sun..." As we got closer to the park and the Haight, things got decidedly more hippy. Two twenty-ish girls got on the bus through the back door. At first I thought this was to avoid paying. But events, well, unfolded.

The first thing I noticed was the green dreadlocks. I had green hair in my twenties. Probably at a Cure concert. But this was not the same. The girls looked shabby, a little grimy. In the eighties, green hair tended to be well groomed, possibly spiked, definitely shellacked with product. There was no discernable grooming here. And the girls were carrying bags like two pack-mules, bags on both shoulders, around their waists, and in their hands. The bags eventually came off, landing in the middle of the aisle, blocking the rear doors so that people disembarking had to step over their junk on the way out, kind of like a strange game of Twister.

Then I realized that some of the bags on the floor of the bus were meowing. Three of the bags were cat carriers, "disguised" with tie-died fabric. I'm guessing these weren't seeing-eye cats. And I'm thinking that this is why they didn't use the front door. There was also a bucket among the bags, a white plastic bucket like the ones painters use. I couldn't see into it until another of the disembarking Twister players knocked into it. Mice. A bucket full of white mice. Did these girls just rescue a bunch of lab animals from a research facility? Or did they intend the mice as play things for the cats? Did they just rob a PetSmart? Or did they go to PetSmart to buy dinner for their pet snake, and on the way out, find they could not resisit adoping some kittens? Even if I wanted to ask, Google Maps told me to get off the bus, and I took my turn at bus-aisle Twister.

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