Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In which I scare an old woman while she admires her groceries

I haven’t posted anything in awhile (which doesn’t matter much since the only person who reads this is my mom, but still) so there are a lot of things I could talk about right now.

I initially thought I would talk about my horrible day and how I get to spend the next five days on jury duty. But then I realized just how much I talk about my horrible days lately; how much time I spend complaining and moaning and proclaiming that I am going to burn the world down (an impractical but at times satisfying thought).

So instead of all that negativity, I am going to talk about something amazing. Something that managed to shake me out of my misery and make me smile.

I am speaking, of course, of Old Woman Spaghetti Reader (OWSR for short). Some context is needed I suppose. As I was riding home on the MAX today, lovingly cradling the whip-creamy remnants of my magical headache curing beverage, an old woman got on the train, wheeling in front of her a small cart filled with reusable grocery bags.

I glanced over as she took the seat next to me, and watched covertly as she pulled out a box of Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti. And began to read.

Not glance; this was not a glance, not a casual once-over of her newly purchased pasta. She was engrossed in it as if it were her favorite novel. It was completely beautiful.

Now as anyone who has ever ridden public transportation knows, they tend to house a lot of strange people/things. So maybe a pasta-reading old woman doesn’t strike you as very interesting. But to me, at that moment, it was so mundanely absurd I couldn’t get enough. Of course, this all probably played out differently to OWSR.

My Thoughts: Oh my God, why is that lady reading that spaghetti? ALL OF THE FUNNY!

OWSR: Yes, lovely, I shall sit and leisurely examine my wonderful new pasta. Now that Mr. Jingles has passed on I can afford food for myself instead of sharing his Meow Mix.

Me: Ok, ok, she put it away. Calm down. Continue listening to music. *Commence lip synching, rock out* CHEESUS CRACKERS SHE JUST PULLED IT OUT AGAIN! What didn’t you see the first time old lady? What further secrets could you be decoding from that box?

OWSR: Oh gracious, the young lady beside me looks a bit manic, why does she keep furtively glancing at me and mouthing silent words? Is she having some kind of fit? Best to keep still so as not to provoke her…


OWSR: …My my, oh goodness, she is definitely still looking at me. Stay calm, Estelle, you’re a strong independent lady. Just casually exit the train at the next stop.

 Me: Aw, she’s getting off at this stop. Wait, what just…HA! The wheel of her little cart-y thing just got stuck in the wheel of that stroller! No way old lady, that mother is not going to help you at all, yessss, struggle to awkwardly remove yourself before the doors close!

OWSR: Mr. Jingles watch over me, I’m trapped! Must escape lunatic girl who seems to have a strange attachment to that near-empty coffee cup!

Me: Caffeine-y goodness, you are a magical headache curing elixir! *Cuddles with cup* Bye weirdo old lady!!!

OWSR: *Runs away and never buys pasta or takes public transport again*

Hmm. I think my point got away from me a little in that reimagining, but I think what I was getting at is that no matter how bad you feel, how depressed or annoyed or angry you are feeling, there will always be tiny, wonderful things to pick you right up again as long as you are willing to see them.

I love you, Old Woman Spaghetti Reader. 


  1. If I got pregnant in high school I would suspect you were my daughter.

    PS. People who don't know how Rob Lowe is aren't your real friends. This is advice I've passed on to my own daughter. I thought you could benefit from it too.

  2. I would take public transportation more often if I could be guaranteed the occasional OWSR sighting.

  3. Holy crap, you got The Bloggess on your blog. So much for that only my mom stuff, huh? Thanks for the giggle. I think maybe I'll bring a box of spaghetti with me next time I have to sit in a waiting room of some sort. Maybe I can brighten some else's day.

    - Liz

  4. There's nothing like some whip-creamy caffeine and noticing the little things in life to turn a whole day around.

    And the suspense is killing me! I have no choice now but to go read the Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti boxes...or I'll never know what it says.

  5. fantastic.

    I'm suddenly wishing I were in the vicinity of public transportation.

  6. *snickers* I think I've found a new blog to read :)

  7. You need to write more, madame. 4 posts are not near enough to keep me giggling, and this one certainly started me on the giggle path. Well bowled, indeed!

  8. Rarely laugh out loud, but you got me! Lately, I'm particularly susceptible to questioning my own (often wrong) perceptions of people. Maybe she isn't nuts for staking the impaled monkey head in her front yard. I think I'll take her up on that invitation to visit her "very interesting" basement. Thank you!

  9. Perhaps the old lady was looking for material for her new novel!
    I have this mad urge to set forth for the nearest supermarket, find my own spaghetti box and see just what it says on the back, then begin writing a book about it
    thank you for that it made me chuckle!

  10. There's a guy on the bus (when I catch the bus on time) who is probably special needs or something and he mutters to himself, with the occasional louder outburst. He also makes these disgusting horking, snorting, coughing noises. I'm sure he can't help it, but that doesn't stop it from being really gross. Poor old lady sounds much more pleasant to be on the bus with.
    There was also that Filipino lady who talked my ear off the other day about how she spoils her kid. Public transit is fun.

  11. found this thanks to a tweet from The Bloggess...so glad I did! Too freakin' funny!

  12. Finding a local blogger through the suggestion of a blogger in Texas it is a small world. The passengers are worth the entertainment value of a ticket on trimet, getting where you are going is just a bonus.

  13. I am a weathered public transit rider and have to say that you described the experience extremely accurately; hurrah to all the OWSRs in the world for injecting a little joy into our bleak commutes.

  14. Found you through a tweet the Bloggess put out. You are fabulous!

  15. P.S. Do you have a twitter account? Because I'd follow you. No kidding.

  16. My goodness gracious, I totally loved this post. It feels like something I might have experienced with my friends before! :) Keep writing please. :)