Bus Ride

Last weekend was free museum day, so Andrew and I met downtown to see a couple of museums that we would otherwise never pay for: the Grammy Museum (tourist trap!) and the Neon Art Museum (seizure-inducing but kitschy fun). Rather than trying to deal with parking, I took a bus. Most people I know rag on public transportation, but I like it as it is eco-friendly, affordable, and I can read during the commute. Also, you get to encounter some strange and trashy people and things that you could only encounter on a bus.

Sitting in the back of the bus (it's cool, Rosa, I chose that seat), I smelled marijuana and spotted this shady dude unabashedly lighting a pipe and taking a hit. You can get away with that shit on the bus apparently. It reminded me of my teaching days in that sometimes I saw mischief occurring in the back of the classroom that I should have addressed, but it was just easier to pretend I didn't notice and push forward.

A few stops later, this guy, limping and loud, came on, screaming the stoned dude's name. He sat down next to him, popped open a bottle of beer, and explained that he hadn't been around for a while because he had been incarcerated for the past seven months. It was easy for him, he claimed, because seven months is nothing compared to what he's had to do in the past. Also, he had the love of a bus driver waiting on the outside. Not our current bus driver, but "a bus driver." He was in love with a bus driver, and each time he referred to her, he didn't use a name, just calling her a "bus driver." I wasn't even sure the bus driver was a she until he pulled out his phone and showed a picture of the bus driver to the stoner, who replied, very unenthusiastically, "Yeah... she's all right."

At one point, the drunk guy stood up, and when the bus braked hard, he tipped over, spilling his beer and landing on the laps of a mother and young child. The family promptly moved to the front of the bus, and the bus driver-lover acted as if nothing had happened. He then started telling his same exact story again ("in prison... in love with a bus driver") because he only had a few things to talk about and the stoned guy abruptly said he had to get off, even though I'm pretty sure he just wanted to not be a part of this scene anymore. You have to be pretty crazy to scare a guy who just smoked weed on public transit off of the bus altogether.

The drunk guy finished his beer and lit up a cigarette. I don't know if these people think that being on a bus is like being in international waters and they can get away with anything, or if he just assumes his bus driver girlfriend could get him out of any trouble that might result from his behavior. Within a couple of stops, a man with a shirt so tattered that it could only be considered "clothing" nominally greeted the drinker-turned-smoker. Now it was his turn to hear his friend's simple tale of jail and love, and it was no less horrifying/amusing to listen to a third time from my position a few seats away. I was tempted to lean over to see the picture of this hottie bus driver he was showing yet again, but decided that I'd rather be a passive audience member than a part of the fiasco.

I know this experience isn't the type of story that is going to make people say, "I should really take the bus more often," but there is no way you're going to get that much amusement while sitting in traffic on the freeway.

1 comment:

Lena said...

I want to ride around Eagle Rock/LA public transit. It sounds so much more exciting than the San Diego transit system i grew up with.