Bus Report #900
The 19 Polk was crowded but fine, until we got to the stop in front of the library.
A man got on - stumbled on, really - and immediately took a bottle of perfume from his jacket pocket.
"I got Chanel No.5," he said loudly, waving the bottle around. "Chanel No.5. Coco Chanel. This usually four hundred dollars, but I'll make you a deal."
He was talking into the air at first, at everyone and at no one. He fell into the seat beside me, offered me his perfume.
Whatever it really was, it was not as advertised. The bottle was small and filled with a grey-blue liquid. The name of this perfume? BLAZE. In big black block letters.
He sprayed some on his hand and then wiped his hand on his cheeks and his forehead.
The smell, a cloying musky scent (made much, much worse by his liberal application) made me cough.
I opened the window.
He kept waving the bottle around, trying to interest people in making a purchase.
When no one bit, he began spraying the air, or spraying the backs and arms and backpacks of the unsuspecting passengers cramming into the back of the bus.
A petite woman carrying a very fluffy dog sat down in front of us, the dog in her lap.
The man stood up and went to pet the dog, but he didn't just pet the dog once and be done with it.
He slipped the perfume bottle into his pocket and began petting the dog with both hands, leaning down to talk to the dog and then he puckered his lips in an attempt to kiss it.
The woman had been polite the whole time, but she was done now. She jumped up but not fast enough to avoid the man, who ended up planting his kiss on the woman's sleeve. She made her way to the front of the bus and I did not see her again.
For the rest of the ride, he kept spritzing his perfume, until I was not the only person coughing and wrenching open the windows.
He moved to the back of the bus and spent the rest of our time together slamming his hand into the side of the bus, repeatedly.
Later, on my way home, I got on an almost-empty 2 Clement.
The woman sitting behind me smiled as I sat down.
"I saw you this morning," I said to her, finally placing her smiling face.
"Yes, and you see I am only just now going home. This is my life," she said.
"Wow, that's a long day." I'd seen her on my way to the 33, almost twelve hours earlier.
In the front of the bus, a girl chatted up our driver. He was a recent transfer to our route, from the 10 Townsend.
"This must be easier," the girl said.
"Oh yes," the driver chuckled.
And as someone who has often made the mistake of taking the 10 in the evening commute, I had to agree.