Yesterday I saw a woman at the bus stop. She was dressed like a model. Fluffy, faux fur hat. Designer coat. Boots up to her thighs. Sitting on the bench. And yes, folks, she was cutting her fingernails. All ten of them. With nail clippers.
I would love to have seen any CCTV footage of myself as I realised what she was doing. I would have seen a very thinly disguised expression of displeasure. Even with a frozen face, I managed to frown and let my lips frill. Surely her day wasn’t so busy that she couldn’t do that at home? Come on, lady.
Travelling on public transport in London, I have seen and heard things that no-one should have to see or hear in public. I’ll spare you the graphics of what I have heard. But I have seen someone cleaning out his ears on the bus. I have also seen a woman pluck her eyebrows on the bus. Seriously? That couldn’t wait? I know I’ve had long waits to get on the bus, but not that long that my eyebrows needed plucking by the time I boarded.
I have seen women doing their make-up on the tube, the whole business from foundation to eyeliner. I haven’t seen anyone wax their legs on their daily commute, but I’ve no doubt that’s a forthcoming attraction in the spring. Or maybe I just haven’t travelled the right tube lines for that.
I have watched people eat their breakfast, lunch, supper, snacks, elevenses, on the buses and tubes. Some people eat surreptitiously, sneaking morsels of food into their mouths and then darting their eyes around to see if anyone’s watching. I always seem to catch their eyes. Others stuff their faces like they’ve just finished a diet.
I once watched a young woman sitting opposite me on the tube lick her fingers – all ten of them – and smack her lips for a good five minutes after she’d finished eating whatever it was she’d just tucked into. After that little performance, she applied layer after layer of BRIGHT RED lipstick (caps to emphasise how red it was) on to her lips. She pouted and pouted as she checked in the mirror that her lips looked just right. She then put all her accoutrements back into her handbag, sat back and within two minutes, she had slumped sideways into an ugly, dribbling sleep.
Probably the most gross public display of toiletry (PDTs, as I call them) was a few years ago in Cape Town, when I was at a conference. As the afternoon session began, a woman came and sat next to me. She fidgeted and fidgeted. Now, I’m not a difficult person, but I hate it when people fidget next to me when I’m trying to
stay awake concentrate on a graveyard shift at a conference. She dug in her handbag, she rustled sweet papers, she chewed sweets loudly and she sobbed and sighed as she dug further into her handbag for more hidden treasures. She chewed and fidgeted and chewed and fidgeted. I did my trademark shielding of my eyes … what the eye doesn’t see the heart can’t grieve over. However, it didn’t block out the sounds.
After an epic fiddling in her handbag (now you can tell how much I was concentrating on the conference subject matter), she sat still for a few minutes. And flossed her teeth. Seriously. She flossed her teeth. Don’t get me started here, but I don’t even like to be anywhere near the bathroom when my husband flosses his teeth – that’s just private. That’s a one-on-one affair. Him and the mirror. Nobody else’s business. Ever.
And this dear woman was flossing her teeth. At a conference, in a huge theatre, in Cape Town. Get a bathroom, already.
That PDT truly took the biscuit. I really don’t want to encounter anyone trying to top that. Thank you.
Sunshine signing off for today.