Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bus Report #415

Well, no one entered the contest except Dr. Horrible, and her story involves me, so I guess we have no real winner (but I will buy you a beer next time we get together, Doc!).
Anyway, here's my favorite bus moment from last week for you.

Thursday night, 38 Geary, home from volunteer gig downtown.
I sat in the back of the bus, in the only unoccupied and untagged seat. Most of the other seats had been tagged with purple paint. The man across from me opened a copy of the Examiner and spread it out on the seats so people could sit down.
I noticed, surprised, that I was on the same bus I had been on the afternoon before. Underneath the seat across from me was a melted Popsicle with the stick still in it, and a piece of wadded up tissue next to it. It had been there the day before, too.
People got on and all dealt with the graffiti in their own way. Some touched the paint and found it wet, and got mad. Some sat on the newspaper, others pushed the newspaper away and sat down, hoping for the best.
A large man in ill-fitting clothes got on and sat nearby. He had a large cardboard cup from a fast food restaurant, and kept fiddling with the ice with his straw.

It soon became apparent that he was mute, and maybe a little developmentally delayed. He would wave to people getting on the bus, and nod his head as if to acknowledge them.
A college-age girl and her boyfriend got on and stood near the tagged seats. A super skinny boy in even skinnier jeans got on and sat down on a newspapered seat. He rode a couple stops and then shot to his feet, patting all his pockets looking for something that was not there. He bolted out the door at the next stop, and I hoped he would find what he was looking for.

The mute man with the fast food beverage cup moved to a different seat.
The bus was full now, and a pair of young men got on, pushing their way to the back, saying, "move out of my way, out of my way, man," to everyone in their path. They sat next to the fast food beverage guy and next to me. The mute man waved to the man next to him, a man in his early 20s, baseball cap askew, hair covering his eyes. Then he reached over and lightly tapped the leg of the man sitting next to me, who was a big guy with long dreadlocks, who reminded me of a lion. The lion cut his eyes at the mute man and said, "Why are you touching me? Do I know you?"
The mute man just stared at him, finally deciding to smile and shrug, and wave. The lion went on, "Some people are just rude, you know what I'm saying. Man," and he shook his head like it was the worst thing that ever happened. "I mean, you know, I'm studying to be a social worker, so looks can be deceiving," and when he said this, he looked at the college-age couple, the mute man, and his buddy. I smiled. He looked at me, then back at the mute man. "It's all good, you know?"
The mute man smiled and nodded his head. He held his cup up for a second, perhaps as a toast.
The college-age girl looked at the button on my lapel and asked me if it was Andy Warhol.
"It's Joe Strummer, from The Clash," I said.
She nodded, and then asked me if I had been to the Warhol exhibit at the CJM or the De Young.
"CJM," I said. "I volunteer there, sometimes."
The lion gestured at the purple tags. 'That fresh?" he asked no one in particular.
"Yeah," I said. "People have been touching it and sitting in it since I got on."
"Man," he said. He looked around, at the college-age couple, me, his friend, the mute man and the people sitting near us and said, "It's nice when everyone talks to each other, friendly-like, you know?"
We knew.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Dr. Horrible said...

mmmmmmmmm......beeeeeeerrrrr. (channeling my inner homer Simpson there)

9:50 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Awww, this made me smile!

2:03 PM  

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