Posted: March 22, 2013 in humor, Life, living
Tags: , , , , , ,

The watery sunlight tried in vain to filter its way through the caked smears of mud on the back window of the bus.  This of course merely increased my sense of tiredness, as I turned away to glance at the woman who was just now paying her fare prior to plumping herself down on the front seat, facing the aisle.


The word was a sudden, visceral thought, clambering up from the depths of consciousness, without warning or explanation.

Since it’s rare for me to ever make such a judgement about someone merely on the basis of looks, I got curious and wondered about its origin.

True, the woman was no beauty queen, but it was still winter and no one appeared all that graceful beneath layers of puffed polyester and wool.   So why did my inner self judge her so harshly?   I sat quietly and observed her.

She was a portly woman, likely in her late forties, and she wore a dark coat which reached her knees.  When she sat down, the coat raised up, revealing a dark pair of slacks.   Her wiry hair was piled on her head, in a sort of Aunt Bee beehive style (wait!  Is that where “beehive” came from?), and she wore thick glasses. 

Her pale sickly face had a sort of a “don’t mess with me” look about it: intolerant of the world at large.   I wondered if that was her public game face:  the face many Torontonians adopt when scurrying about in the big metropolis;  designed to keep all others at bay, especially those who walk up to us with those cute little stickers that they give us, prior to begging for money “for my kids and I”.

As the bus made several stops more, I watched the woman, who seemed entirely caught up in her own little world.  She must have been, based upon what she did next.

Funny, isn’t it, how we tend to obsess over our personal appearance:  we want our friends to tell us if we have bits of celery in our teeth, or a tag hanging out of the back of our shirt.  I recall a saleslady in a store pulling me aside to remove the size tag from the front of my shirt – for which I was grateful.  And how many times have you been found walking around with toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe?

Maybe you’ll recall the Jerry Seinfeld episode, where he was stopped at a stoplight, and he had an itch at the side of his nose.   In the scene, his model girlfriend was riding in a cab which pulled up next to him, just as he was scratching the itch.  She saw his nose action and interpreted it as something a little more gross – and the story went downhill from there.

Well that’s exactly what the woman did.  Or so I thought.  She appeared to be scratching just on the inside of her nostril.  

However, all doubt was removed when suddenly she went in, knuckle deep and began to dig.

I felt myself frowning in awed disgust.   It was like a traffic accident – I could not look away.

After she was done digging, she put her hand down to her slacks, and rubbed off the residue on them.  My horrified frown deepened.

“Ugh.  That’s horrible.  At least it can’t get any worse”, I thought.

I thought wrong. 

I watched, fascinated as she used her other hand to enter the opposite nostril, and began to root around like she was looking for spare change.   This time, she pulled something out, and rolled it between her fingers.

I could feel my whole face contracting, almost in pain.

And then…..(I’m not even joking here – I’m a grown man, and don’t participate in juvenile jokes, which this was beginning to resemble)….she ran her gooey hand through her brittle hair.

The penny dropped.  The last straw hit the camel’s back.  My last nerve pinged like a broken guitar string.

I looked out of the dirty window, and nodded.   “Yup”, I thought.  “That’s about right.”

And then – I couldn’t help myself – I burst out laughing.

  1. Holy cow! Unreal! My stomach is still doing flip-flops. They do indeed walk among us! Ugh!


    • wolfshades says:

      In the light of day, no less. Her behaviour was such an aberration from the norm that I found it almost unbelievable. Except that I was witnessing it with my own two eyes. Nice to know my subconscious was working in perfect form.


  2. mommafargo says:

    LMAO. I love your posts. They are so fresh. Boogers not so much. LOL.


    • wolfshades says:

      *grin* Glad you liked it. I’ve seen little boys do stuff like this. So rare for a full-grown adult to do it. I mean we *all* get stuff up there which we have to deal with – usually we find a quiet spot LIKE FROM BEHIND A LOCKED BATHROOM DOOR to do it in. *laughing*

      Good to see you again mommafargo! So glad you stopped by – it reminds me that it’s been a while since I last paid a visit to your excellent blog spot. Heading over in three….two….


  3. Robin says:

    OMG!!!! That was like a auto accident here on the 405. I couldn’t peel my eyes away even as I knew what was going to happen. Yes, Ugly. A deserving title. As a keen observer of human behavior it is sadly not the only case. I see it all the time. Especially when people think they are in the privacy of their cars!…….ewe. Nice post….Thanks


  4. Ugghhh! I got my lunch, sat down on a bench near a beautiful tree, birds were singing and I thought, l’m going to catch up on Wolfie’s post. Gross! I lost my appetite but couldn’t help but laugh out loud!


    • wolfshades says:

      *grin* Now you have a sense for how grossed-out I was when I was witnessing this little horror. I mean – who *does* that? It was just too surreal and gross. Sorry for the loss of your lunch. Hope those singing birds were happy to take it off your hands. : )


  5. umavvs says:

    Three things. 1. Your bursting out laughing- it feels more like nervous laughter- or were you amused by your sense of shock at her aberrant behavior? 2. The act itself- obviously the woman was lost in her world..oblivious to those watching her. There are a lot of things we do in privacy that would be considered gross if displayed publicly-does it follow that there’s a social code of esthetics? How deep rooted is that? 3. Your instinctive reaction at your first sighting of her- do we all carry a subconscious definition of what’s ugly just as we have some predetermined code of attractiveness? Thought provoking post, or am I getting overanalytic? :D


    • wolfshades says:

      Three great questions! I like them. So here goes:
      1) I burst out laughing at the absurdity of it all. When she ran her snotty fingers through her hair, the surreal became the sublime and my senses overloaded. I had to let it out – nothing nervous about it. It was real, unfeigned and hilarious.
      2) The woman was lost in her world but I didn’t get the sense she was mentally disabled. She seemed otherwise very well put together. Her attire and mannerisms suggested that strongly. I think, however, she had gone past the point of caring what anyone else had thought and had become carelessly anti-social. I truly believe there is an social code of esthetics. Maybe we all clean our noses, but we all know well enough to do it behind closed doors. It’s the same sense of esthetics which govern men who know well enough to pee at a urinal or toilet, only failing to do so when drunk, when they openly pee against the outside of a nightclub wall.
      3) I have consciously (vocally or just in my thoughts) used the word “ugly” maybe twice or three times in ten years. That’s how much value I place on the word. A teenage boy’s “ugly” applies to a multitude of situations and people but is often a result of his abject ignorance, because of his paucity of life experience. The notion of someone having an appearance of ugliness is abhorrent to me – and I don’t say that with some grandiose sense of false humility. It’s merely the truth: ugliness is not so easily defined as outward appearance over which most of us have little control. Ugliness, in my opinion, comes from a spot deep within the soul. The most outwardly glamorous man or woman can be ugly, if they harbour resentment and loathing toward someone who is kind. Sometimes it’s not even their fault: sometimes they just know no better, having a limited set of experiences and references.

      Yet somehow, my empathic soul picked up on that one word, which frankly startled me. I wasn’t expecting it at all, and I wondered if perhaps I was exhibiting a new type of ignorance. Hence my desire to watch her closely to see what triggered the word. Having seen her, I stand by my sad judgement. Just as I know there was more to her personality than was exhibited by her loathsome behaviour. To paraphrase the fictional Forrest Gump: ugly is as ugly does. It frankly wouldn’t surprise me if she had a body buried in her basement.


      • K. Jean King says:

        This is somewhat related to what I was going to ask, which was: do you think the unabashed nose-picking is somehow translated into her outward appearance? That is, do you think that the “nose-picker” personality trait is something that can be perceived somehow?

        Or possibly this is your superhero trait. Instead of a Spidey Sense you have a Nose-Picker-Picker.


        • wolfshades says:

          That’s a keen observation on your part. I feel confident in stating that yes – her nose-picking is very likely related to her outward appearance. They are two spokes on the same wheel, which involves a diminished sense of self-value. It may also indicate a tendency toward frustration and weariness. Some people reach a point where they give up – and the social norms hold no interest anymore. The “nose-picker personality type” might be a bit of a misnomer, particularly as it seems to be a symptom rather than a label in itself. The woman simply didn’t seem to care anymore – that’s how I saw it anyway.

          The only trait to which I hold claim is that of an empath. It seems strong sometimes – and manifests itself most acutely when folk think they’re hiding things. (Actually there’s a lengthy explanation that belongs here – but I won’t go into it now. Fodder for another blog perhaps).


  6. That’s pretty funny. Good description of the scene. It’s weird, watching strangers when they don’t know they’re being watched.


    • wolfshades says:

      People often reveal a lot about themselves when they’re not aware they’re being observed. It’s interesting. In this case I wasn’t nosy or anything – just utterly fascinated. : )


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