Now, dear reader, before you drift away thinking this is a grunge haute couture column, I'm sharing these fashion notes because they come into play later when we depart for home.
So fast forwarding ...
A nearby taxi idles reveberating with the unmistakeable driving bass, drums and scratchy guitar of Golden Earring's Radar Love. I flag the cab half-shouting that we need to get to the station to catch the 1'oclock bus. This chaffeur ride seems like the perfect way to kiss Cleveland goodbye. I've never had the pleasure of zipping through the streets with a cabbie blasting his radio near full volume before. Considering we had just seen the Women Who Rock exhibit, leaving "the city that rocks" hearing, “Brenda Lee's comin' on strong” seems apropos.
But the adrenaline rush from the cab drive dissipated soon after we arrived at the bus station. Our departure time came and went while we waited to shuffle off to Buffalo. Bored with the delay, Angelica went off to peruse a U. S. map on the wall while I held our place in line. It was a smart move too since the gigantic man behind us in line seemed to be looking for an audience. He started talking to me but my social radar is finely tuned to avoid assholes so I pretended to be reading my (turned off) cell phone.
In a loud voice he continued to spout gibberish to anyone who would listen. In this case it was the poor sod behind him. As he grumbled, his one-way conversation went something like this:
I’m tired and the Goddamn bus is late. When I get home nobody better bug me. First thing I’m gonna do when I get in that door is put on my tape of the barking pit bull. Then I’m putting my earplugs in and going down to the basement. If anyone rings the goddamn doorbell and wakes me up, they’ll be greeted by a big motherfucker like me staring down the barrel of an 8 gauge shot gun. You ever looked up the barrel of an 8 gauge shot gun? That damn thing’s pretty big.
In the meantime I noticed a short man walking towards the line. He was wearing a dark blue uniform and had a shiny badge on his chest. In my experience, unless there is a problem, it’s rare to see police in Canadian bus stations. But this is America folks.
While I have 20/20 vision up close, I’m myopic and can't see clearly at a distance. I'm curious if this guy is a cop or not, but to put my glasses on and size him up, seems too obvious. Still I’m thinking … they’re not boarding anyone on the bus; maybe there is a problem. My mind starts to race. While squinting in his direction, I was approached from the right by a burly woman who was putting on platic gloves. She rolled a cart up in front of me and asks me to drop my bags on it for a security check. I said, “Really?”
She said, “Yes Ma’am, really.”
She rifled through my backpack and found nothing of interest. Then she inspected my purse.
“All you’ll find is my wallet, pen, papers, some cosmetics and a few other feminine items.”
She was not amused at my banter. Then she called my daughter over to go through her backpack and laptop bag. I was not amused.
Finding nothing the woman she rolled her cart and moved on. I expected her to go to other people in the line and check their bags. It didn’t happen. I whispered to my girl, “Why do you think she only checked us?”
She said, “Maybe it’s standard procedure here to check carry-on bags. Maybe everyone else is putting their luggage under the bus."
I looked around as we finally boarded the bus and saw many had over the shoulder bags and backpacks.
Hmm… I continued to roll this scenario over and question what made us - instead of the lunatic behind us - stand out as some perceived threat. Then Angelica said, “I know … it’s our frizzy hair!"
It was true, the morning of our departure we skipped our regular grooming activities so we’d have more time to explore the city. We never even cracked the lid on the Crabtree & Evelyn Shampoo and Conditioner from the Hotel bathroom.
Yes, we had left without subduing or straightening our locks. Surely this was the reason we exuded a wild, devil-may-care, frizzy-haired, rebellious and dangerous attitude.
She said, “Think about it Mum …when Security approached you I was scanning the map plotting our next undercover attack. They blew our cover. We had the perfect camouflage: a frizzy-haired, plaid wearing, mother-daughter terrorist tag team?”
Next time, I’m wearing my leather jacket.
© Scarlett Sumac 2012