An Upper Darby woman with schizophrenia is an unlikely celebrity on South Street.
On our way to the terminal, Stella playfully sticks out her tongue, bright blue from a water ice, at a kid next to her on the subway. “Shut the fuck up,” he says.
She leads me into a surprisingly clean, well-lit station and shows me where she sleeps: a blue metal bench in a fairly empty lobby. After a few minutes, about 50 high school kids swarm into the station, shouting and flipping out as two girls tear at each other.
While everybody panics, Stella sits on her bench, unphased. Like a monk, she hears the chaos around her but is completely impervious—which I suspect is why she’s never had any problems with anyone while sleeping there overnight.
“Does that sort of thing happen here a lot?” I ask.
“Sometimes. Not really,” she says.
I ask her if people ever give her trouble. She says sometimes people try to take her money when she’s sleeping by going through her pockets. She responds by yelling, “Get the fuck off!”
Now she gets on the last train to Upper Darby—the same neighborhood where her idol, fellow Greek woman Tina Fey, grew up. Like everyone else on South Street, I don’t know what I can do to help her get the proper care she deserves. I tell her to get home safe. ■