Commuter Profile: The Painted Lady

So, Janis Joplin’s granddaughter is riding the train these days.  She’s got a bunch of “doodle-quality” tattoos all over her, mostly of birds, flowers, and that kind of thing.  She wears big round, dark sunglasses every day–rain or shine–jeans, very long dark hair, and usually has her feet exposed in some manner (sandals, flip-flops, etc…).

When we’re waiting for the train on the platform, she’s vigorously sucking on some kind of miniature water-vapor hooka.  Not quite as big as a recorder (that flutey thing you played in 5th grade music class), but close…probably trying to quit cigarettes since she works at a hospital.  I’m not sure that puffing 10x as hard on the substitute is going to teach you to quit smoking, but what do I know.  She also is a voracious eater of nicotine gum.  You’d think she was a heroin addict the way she’s always fussing around with these things.

Mostly, she keeps to herself.  I’d bet my house that she’s got a bag of weed in her purse.  Given her outward appearance, it’s kind of surprising that she gets up and hits the train at 5:35am every day with me.  Someone’s gotta bring home the bacon, I guess.  I imagine that she has an unemployed boyfriend who sleeps 16 hours each day interleaved with Budweiser and weed.  When she’s trying to get some sleep so she can get up in the morning, he’s partying with his unemployed friends out in the next room.  She and her boyfriend probably have a pit-bull together, tied to a tree out in the yard who sleeps on a patch of dirt between the broken lawn mower and barbecue…no kids, though.

She seems kind of smart, and kind of dumb at the same time–you know what I mean–like she could have done more with her life, but she’s doing better than everyone she knows.  She took the tough road, and is spending her 20’s figuring out how to turn it around .