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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003 | link
I don't know if you've ever ridden the 14 (Muni talk here), but if you have, then you know that it is possibly the best place (second only, perhaps, to the 22?) to observe some serious theatre of the streets. And the heart.
That said, the past few times I've ridden the 14 have been disappointingly tame. But this morning, it mega-totally delivered. I took a seat in the "theatre in the round" section, the joint in the middle of the bus that lets it bend around corners and so on, and the absolutely sane-looking woman sitting across from me suddenly started yelling "McDonalds! McDonalds! McDonalds!" really loudly. And then "Donuts, donuts, donuts!" and "Delicious, delicious!" and "Beware!" and "Five dollars each, chickens! Five dollars each! Chickens, chickens!"
On a much more subtle note, someone at the back of the bus had a beatbox blaring not the usual aggro-whatever stuff but this overly relaxed kind of elevator music, like really, really easy pantyjams. And somehow the combination of the two elements, the Delicious Yeller and the laid-back musical stylings, were just magic-perfect. Smiles!
In other bus news, a few weeks ago I got thrown off a bus for being rude, which, if you know anything about bus-ing, is pretty hard to do. But it wasn't my fault! Not really?
I got on the bus, my Muni pass out and ready to show the driver, but as I was climbing up the stairs, he leapt up out of his seat and headed toward the back of the bus. Not really sure what he was doing, I wandered after him. When he stopped underneath the skylight and started fiddling with it, I went to scootch past him, again with my bus pass held high and readable, but out of nowhere he was all, "EXCUSE ME!" with his face lemoned up like the aide on Benson, the one who had all the sexual tension with Gretchen of the bowl cut?
I smiled winningly and said, "I'm sorry, I wasn't quite sure what you were doing, where would you like me to stand?"
In a loud voice meant to be heard by the entire bus, he said, "Could a person BE any ruder?"
Then, and I don't know where this came from, I think maybe I'd already had a fairly crudded up day, I said, "I guess YOU would know."
With a look of so much rage on his face, like he'd completely lost his mind, he yelled, "You, you can get off RIGHT HERE and take the NEXT BUS!"
And I said, using my brightest and best "oops, somebody's crayzee" voice, "Okay!" and march, marched right off the bus, sure, you bet.
I also (and don't go starting to think I'm going all Falling-Down crazy, but) got in kind of a fight with some man on the Air BART shuttle bus on the way back from LA. The bus was just about to leave so I had to scramble to get a ticket from the machine and drag my bag on board. But when I tried to make my way up the aisle, I was blocked by this man (a kind of child-molester dad-type with a high-blood-pressure-red face and tight, tight gold jewelry) and his two huge suitcases. There were plenty of open seats and a mile of clear aisle right behind him, but for some reason he had selected the very front of the bus to clot.
If my bag had been lighter or smaller, I may have been able to lift it over his barricade and climb past him, but since it wasn't, I couldn't really go anywhere, and he was completely ignoring me, talking on his cellphone. The bus driver yelled, "you have to be behind the yellow line! I can't leave until you're behind the yellow line!" And I said, kind of loudly?, "I can't! This man is blocking my way."
But he just kept talking to his secretary or whatever. So I squeeeeezed myself over the yellow line, right up against him, and the bus took off.
Finally he looked at me, because I was all of four inches away from his face, and I said, "Excuse me, there is all this room behind you, could you possibly move back?"
He stopped talking into his phone, stared at me, sighed all exasperated, and said, "Yes, but I don't WANT to move," then resumed his conversation.
Huh, what? Who? I have to admit, it was kind of a genius response because it essentially defied all argument. Maybe I could have learned a lot from that man? But instead I just stood there, breathing in his exhalation and fuming.
After about five minutes, I hit on a strategy. I stared openly at him, smiling and nodding like a hippy, and said, "Wow." After a minute of trying to ignore me, he said, "What?"
I said, "I'm just MARveling at you."
And what did he say? He said, "Well, enjoy yourself," and looked away. Wow!
The only slightest, miniest revenge I got upon him was when the bus arrived at BART and it was time to get off the bus, which meant that now I was in front of him. So I took one MILLION hours getting off the bus, dropping my bag, stopping to check for my ticket, etc. And then once I made it down to the sidewalk, it was really crowded with all these people waiting to get ON the bus, and I could see by our shadows that the guy was still trapped behind me as I wended my way, slowly, slowly, slowly through all the people and bags. When I saw his shadow try to creep past me on the right, I jagged right, when it went left, I blocked him by floating left. Finally, finally, at the first hint of open space, he burst past me and raced away in a puff of rage.
See how totally not crazy I am?