Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bus Report #504

Man, but yesterday was weird. My day started when I somehow got confused, thought my alarm went off, and ended up freshly showered and dressed standing in my kitchen at 4:30 AM. Oy.
Suffice it to say, by the time I left for work I had a spotlessly clean apartment, a well-thought-out lunch and enough caffeine in my system to carry me for the next few hours. My 38 bus was fine, uneventful, and so was my 22 Fillmore. Ah, the perks of making the early bus and the subsequent early connection.

From here on out, this is going to be a doozy of a story, so grab a drink and sit down.

Fast forward to last night.
I checked NextBus before leaving work, and saw that there were a couple 22s and a 10 en route to my usual stop. Fine. I would take whatever came first.

The 22 rolled up. It was full, but I managed to make my way to the back of the bus, where the only open seat was next to a huge teenage boy wearing a nice (slightly against type) lavender button down shirt.
I had my headphones on and didn't really want to hear these kids talk about their awesome plans for smoking pot in the Haight ("it's 420, my n_____, where do you think I'm gonna be?" "my n_____, I've been smoking since this morning!") or anything else.
Well, I'm glad I caught some of their conversation, because these kids... man. I wouldn't want to be an adult in their lives, seriously. One kid talked about his four felonies and how he couldn't afford a fifth. One girl talked about how much she hated her continuation school way out on Third Street. Another boy bragged about stealing cars. Awesome!
Meanwhile, a woman sitting in the back row kept nodding off, waking up every few minutes to make faces and sort of vaguely threaten someone sitting a few seats away from her. The man sitting across from me kept shooting me 'can-you-believe-this' looks, which I returned with a smile and roll of my eyes.
It was business as usual until we hit Mission Street.

Now, I was sitting in a rear facing seat with my headphones on, so it took me a minute to notice something was happening.
The bus pulled in to the stop, and as usual at Mission, people pushed and shoved their way out, then people pushed and shoved their way on.
A noise I can only describe as sounding like a cross between a stampede, a rustling sound getting louder and louder and a full on fight suddenly broke my afternoon daze.
Someone was yelling and hitting people, the kids near me were egging him on, it was a full on fracas!
And guess where the perpetrator was heading!
Yep, the rear of the bus!
So I turned around and saw people sort of jumping backwards out the bus, then this scruffy guy with shampoo-commercial-after-using-the-product shiny hair bursts past a couple of the teens who were, at this point, standing on their seats laughing, and this guy stands right between the seats and starts screaming, "why can't they speak English? Why can't they move to the rear of the goddamn bus? Why can't they get out of my fucking way?"
He then stops yelling, exchanges a complicated handshake with one of the kids and says, "sorry man, I shouldn't have pushed you."
If I had a thought bubble over my head, it would have said, WHAT?
At this point, everyone else is realizing we are not going anywhere until this dude gets off the bus, voluntarily or otherwise. I cut my eyes at him, as do a few other people, while he continues to, in turns, talk normally and scream crazily at the kids and at the driver.
The kids, of course, are eating this up.
The nodding off woman starts screaming at the bus driver, "Hey you, n____, let's move the goddamn bus."
The kids join in, shouting things like, "I gotta get to work, driver!" "I gotta pick up the kids" "Move the goddamn bus, my n____!"
I sucked my teeth, sighed. The man sitting across from me shot me another look.
After some more yelling and abuse hurled at the driver (who was not at fault, who really, REALLY should have called the cops, I would have been a witness, if no one else), the man said, in a normal tone, "Well, I guess I should get out, let the rest of you keep going."
So he did, and we did, and that was the end of that.
Parting 'shot' from the nodding off woman, "Damn, you know sometimes white people are crackers, and that guy, well, talk about crackers. And that dude he was fighting with? He was high on crystal."
This seems like a good place for some sort of 'junkie calling the speed freak a meth head' or similar saying, but I can't quite get it as funny as I'd like it.

When we got to Fillmore, getting off the bus was like a breath of fresh air, albeit a breath of fresh air mixed with pot, which was the smell I smelled the most yesterday afternoon on the way home.
Even on my 38, a quiet bus with surprisingly nice kids, the woman sitting in front of me reeked of skunky pot.
One of the teens pulled the woman's sweatshirt hood down and said, "You know, I can smell you from over here."
The woman gave the kid (who I guess she knew) a look, then slinked off the bus at the next stop.


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