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Friday, November 13, 2009

Everybody’s Somebody’s Weirdo

Haven’t seen you on this bus before. Come sit by me!

You know, I used to commute by car: 45 minutes in each direction, the final 45 minutes of the day sometimes causing me to stifle – or not stifle! – various four-letter words, muttered suggestions to my fellow human beings about obscene physical impossibilities and my personal sundry theories on their genealogy.

I laughed at the idea of taking the bus. That was for – well, let’s be honest: People without cars; poor people; crazy people.

And then I changed jobs and moved to an area that made taking the bus not only feasible but necessary. Who wants to drive into the city if they don’t have to?

Don’t get me wrong. The bus is just as you suspect: there are, indeed, auto-less, poor and crazy people on the bus.

I’ve had conversations with people who will tell you with a straight face that every life is precious – but for many of them, these precious lives are in the abstract. They don’t work with anyone in a wheelchair, they haven’t seen a blind person in years, they only hear about the homeless when one of them freezes.

If I didn’t take the bus, I wouldn’t know how many people have companion dogs. I wouldn’t commute next to the folks in wheelchairs. I wouldn’t be amazed at just how many blind people there are downtown and I wouldn’t get to hear one particular bus driver announce “Next stop, Spwing Stweet”.

I don’t have to love them. But it wouldn’t hurt if I did.

Welcome to the bus. I’m so glad you’re here.


♥ Braja said...

Short bus. I know that one.

Ms Sparrow said...

Touching post, Pearl. I have stories about riding the bus too.
But, that's all behind me now that I'm retired. Now I'm one of those in cars. However, I volunteer at a clinic where I see many disabled people, so I guess I'm not too far separated from reality.

CJ said...

Hey, at least it gives you stuff to blog about! You could even have a weekly bus feature!

Mr. Condescending said...

Lol @the short bus comment!

powdergirl said...

A hundred years ago when I live ind Winnipeg Mb, I rode the bus. Its a whole new world indeed. And yeah,the "life is precious" crowd don't often seem to have seen much of it.

Also, no Pearl, you may not have a toe removed. If your Mother won't tell, then I will.

How bout when the have toes shortened s that they can have absolutely perfect little toe-files. Or how bout having a few ribs out, you just to get the whittled waist look thats impossible if you're not genetically made that way. There's something for everyone : )

Oh! I was shocked to see a young girl have the 'fat pad' surgically removed from her hoo-hoo because she'd lost a ton of weight and now her snatch didn't match. Jaysus Murphy! Don't get me started...

Oh, sorry, missed yesterdays post, apparently I had somethnig to say about that.

De Campo said...

I’m on the verge of flying out there just to ride your bus line.

I’ll be the weird guy in full body armor.

Jayne Martin said...

Buses are a little microcosm of the world. I don't know if that's really true, but I liked the way it sounded.

Mandy's Kidding said...

My car died for a while there in college and I had to take the bus. It was a fascinating experience to be a minority. I figured it was something everyone should experience. I experienced it again when I went to Japan and India. Makes one a lot more sensitive to how it feels to be "different."

ellen abbott said...

I lived in Chicago for a year and rode the el everywhere. didn't have a car. It was a new and weird experience coming from the land where everyone has at least two cars, but once I got used to it, it was great not having to deal with parking and parking fees. Now though my work place is attached to my house and I shun humanity. I have to get my jollies vicariously through you and others.

Douglas said...

If everyone (or nearly everyone) around you is not "mainstream" then what world are you in?

That bus is a slice of life, or a city, but how big or small a slice?

It is too easy to think the world immediately around you is a microcosm of the greater one.

Still, be wary of the guy with one hand always in his pants pocket.

Courtney said...

If it weren't for riding the bus, I would have far fewer interesting stories and would therefore be a much less interesting person. Or that's what I tell myself most days.

kimber p said...

I had to ride the bus to work a few years back, people in small towns can either be too familiar with each other during the ride, or extremely tight-lipped.

I prefered the tight-lipped crowd riding my bus. Get on--Get off. Have a nice day.

Guillermo de la Varner said...

Good post, well said.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

You're a lovely person, Pearl! Touching post. I used to take the bus to school as a kid and I took it to BART of into San Francisco when I was old enough to work. Parking in S.F. is almost impossible and if you can find a spot, it's darned expensive!

I love reading your posts about the City you work in. I've been there many times. Are you familiar with the clothing store Rags? I loved that store.


Jimmy Bastard said...

Funnily enough, I really identify with this post. I like to study people. The bus or train is a great hunting ground for just such a sport.

Anonymous said...

I am terrified of driving/riding in a car, so I take the bus everywhere. Have met some of the most colourful folks there, to say the least. We have the Hot Dog Warrior, who is always brandishing a raw hot dog and declaring "PRAISE SANDRA!" at the top of his lungs - startling all the non-regulars. Then we have Wendigo that barks like a variety of different dogs and bathes (yes, nude) at the carwash... But then there are others, like the beautifully frail delicate 90 year old gal, dubbed Baby Ruth, who once said to me: "I see your stars... And they shine, shine, shine."

Wonderful people, in my book. (But I think I have just validated your poor, homeless, and craziness with mine.)

I love the bus. I wouldn't trade it for the world. No where else are you so blessed to be able to meet, interact with and get to know such an eclectic and diverse bit of the human race. Can't be beat!

LucyCooper said...

Sometimes I really relish my own discomfort. The bus is a great place to do just that, along with the DMV.

CatLadyLarew said...

I wish we had a better public transportation system here so I could commute via bus or train. I'm only 10 minutes from work, though, so I feel pretty lucky... and spoiled.

Pearl said...

You guys are killing me.

mapstew said...

I 'retired' from being a long distance courier a couple of years ago, a job I loved for a long time. I just loved driving for hours on end up and down the country delivering, usually, just one package in a day.
One day, it was a Friday, rush hour, I had my 'What The Fuck' moment.
Quit the job. (I can sing for my supper!)
I love taking the bus into town with the Youngest now at least a couple of times a week.

Have a good weekend.


Beth said...

I love your view of the people of the bus. You make it sound fun and enriching.

Irish Gumbo said...

Hooray! Now when do we get cup holders? woot!

"...Another one rides the bus,
Another rides the bus.
and another one's on!
And another one's on!

Hey, he's gonna sit by you!
Another rides the bus...

Well, the windows won't open and the fan is broke, Another one rides the BUS!..."

sing that to the tune of "Another Bites the Dust", trust me, you'll laugh :)

Gregory said...

Irish, lmao...
see my next blog post, I would post it here, but this is some good life experience stuff.

Kavi said...

I just loved the title of this post. I am sure i will be using it somewhere !


Berowne said...

Speaking of busses -- or buses -- years ago in New York City I was getting on the cross-town bus and I noticed there was a guy, evidently unconscious, lying under the bus's right front wheel.

I was amazed. A burgh of 8 million people and no one had noticed this?

I blurted out to the driver: "Don't move the bus! There's someone lying under your front wheel!"

He gave me the tired, bored, worn-out look N Y C bus drivers had for the all-too-frequent nut-cases they had to deal with. He sighed, got up and took a look outside.

He hurried back on board, grabbed the hand brake to make sure it was solidly set and shouted at me: "There's someone under the bus!"

"I know," I said.

Gaston Studio said...

Riding on buses is like communing with nature; shows you what's really out there.

Deborah said...

Years ago I was in NY with my two daughters and we were floundering around on NY's (excellent) transit system trying desperately to not look like rubes although our lack of black attire was screaming "MIDWEST MIDWEST"!

We were riding the bus back from the Statue of Liberty when two women boarded the bus and didn't have exact change. The bus driver immediately started berating them in his best Bronx accent to "move out of the way and get your money straight."

One of the women pulled herself up straight, looked him in his angry eyes, and stated, "Hey! We're not from around here! Stop being so mean"!

The bus driver became awesome! He apologized repeatedly, stating he forgets himself and doesn't realize how harsh he can be.

We sat there smiling and then laughing and then the entire bus was smiling and laughing.

The rest of the trip was strangers trading stories and listening to the driver's stories. A really brilliant memory for me.

I've ridden the city bus in your city millions of times and your descriptions nearly make me smell the wet wool. Love it.

Pearl - I know you btw! How the heck are you? - as if I can't see from your blog. Awesome blog. Miss you!

Knucklehead said...

I've always thought there are certain things everyone should do from time to time, just to experience a cross-section of the human race. Riding the bus. Shopping at Walmart. Doing time in prison.

Sometimes I can be pretty damn stupid.