For the record, I didn't joke with or lie to the woman I'm about to describe.
A woman, waiting for the same bus as I was, started complaining about ill treatment at the supermarket. "I don't care what people think, I'm going to buy Turkish coffee" was her first odd comment I heard; so it's suddenly some sort of protest act to buy Turkish coffee? (I've had Turkish coffee, at Nicholas' in Southeast Portand. I liked it.) She went on to say that a supermarket employee -- who, first, didn't know her and then who did (I'm not sure when she changed her story) told her checker to charge her $11 for one product, not $10; oh, and he then showed off his large arm tattoo of Jesus on the cross, because the man knew the woman was Muslim and wanted to abuse her psychologically. Somehow this was the fault of the Jews. That led to me actually hearing someone say the Jews run the world. Not normal bus stop chat.
"They don't," I said, as flatly as I could.
"They do," she said.
"They don't," I said, flatly again. I hoped I didn't sound angry. I may have let on that I was cranky, though can you blame me for being cranky?
She claimed that she had a relative back in Massachusetts ("I want to get back there," she said; "there I know who my enemies are") who had an Irish-Catholic mom and a German-Jewish dad, and went by his dad's last name. She said she asked him why he didn't go by his mother's Irish name, and he said "Because we Jews run the world."
"Do you think he was joking?" I asked.
"No," she said. She wasn't swayed by my reminding her that most people get their father's last name...
I considered lying to her and saying I was Jewish, at least by conversion. But I realized that was a bad idea. The bus then came, and I managed to sit far enough away from her that her attention was diverted to another person and (I hope) other subjects. Oh, and she only rode the bus for less than 10 blocks, and these are downtown Portland blocks: short blocks.
I wasn't impressed, but at least she was away from me.
In nicer out-and-about news, that trip of mine was productive. It even included a good deed! I helped an out-of-town family deal with one of downtown's high-tech parking meters. Then I stopped at the library (picking up the novel Money Shot by Christa Faust, a.k.a. faustfatale), had a nice and comfortable grilled-cheese, bacon and tomato sandwich plus soup at the relocated Virginia Cafe across from the cafeteria -- oh, and the woman who served me called me "honey," which at some level I kind of like -- then shopped at Everyday Music (including Portishead's album Dummy and a used copy of the first season of Friday Night Lights), then walked through a sudden hailstorm. Interesting sensation. Then grocery shopping, then Crazy Conspiracy Lady time.
And now I'm home, and the sun is out lighting up the storm clouds, and I'm comfortable and have nice trip-hop on my stereo. Things are good. Except for Crazy Conspiracy Lady, but I get the feeling that things would be bad for her no matter what actually was happening...