Marilyn in My Row

Wednesday, March 05 2003

It all started normal enough. She’s a grandma, drives a bus in Portland, so does her husband. But what started as friendly conversation with someone on the plane turned into one of the most awkward moments of my life.

She claims that she, a grandma and bus driver, is Marilyn Monroe reincarnated. Now, without even doing any math, I know she’s nuts, but she roped me in. She didn’t just blurt out “I’m Marilyn Monroe!”

She started off subtle. Told me about her grandkids, what it’s like to be a bus driver, how she likes to paint. We were in full conversation when she just slipped that in. In between talking about giving people Italian ices on her bus and how she only gets about three five minute breaks on her shift.

She was dressed in all black. She claimed it warded off disease. “People underestimate the absorption of black you know.”

I began to do a lot of nodding. I forced myself to fall asleep. I woke up to the smell of bananas. There were two peels on the foldout tray, and she was working on a third.

She said she just took an IQ test, and it had tricky questions like “What is half of thirty added to ten?”, which, one would conclude is twenty-five, but they’d be wrong. It’s seventy, because according to her, half of thirty is sixty.

Anyhow, I’m actually thankful for the nut balls I meet in my life. It was either her or stare at the back of the seat in front of me.