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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Shovel Rides for Free

I watched a man get off the bus carrying a shovel yesterday morning. Not a snow shovel, mind you, but a digging, turning-over-the-earth style of shovel.

Frankly, I was surprised by this – not so much by the fact that a man got off the bus carrying a shovel but because I didn’t notice said shovel until he was stepping down to street level with it.

I thought I was more observant than that.

The whole thing struck me as unusual for two reasons, really: 1.) it’s the middle of winter here and the ground is frozen solidly, thank you; and 2.) come on! It’s a long-handled agricultural tool on a city bus.

He had been sitting across the aisle from me, the shovel leaning against the wall.

As he left, I turned around to see a man I ride the bus with every day. We’re not what I would call friends, he and I, but we’ve shared words in the past relative to his standing up for me after I had apparently caught the eye of a certain belligerent cretin with a boom box.

For the record, I still do not believe Boom Box Guy ever toured with The Scorpions or that he had ever had occasion to have, and I quote, “knocked Ozzy’s dick in the dirt”.

I don’t even know what that means.

But as I said, I turned around to see a man I ride the bus with every day. Our eyes met as Shovel Man disembarked.

I smiled at him. “Well there’s something you don’t see every day.”

“You’re right there,” he said, grinning.

I turned back, the right way around, and rode the rest of the way wondering if there would be a day in the future where I would relate this story to a group that would shake its head in disbelief, chat about the “good old days” when you could bring something like a shovel on to a bus.

Well lemme tell ya…

There was nothing good about those days, kids, when any John, Dick, or Harry could bring a shovel on the bus, I’ll say. Those were dangerous days, days where men sought the security of farm implements and women scribbled furious notes on to cocktail napkins found in their purses so as to remind themselves of the details later! The going was tough, and the tough were on the bus! We were ready to fight back then, to kick off our boots and rassle barefooted, catch-as-catch-can with any feller who dared mess with our regularly scheduled routes!

I may never know where that man was going or why he needed a shovel with him – had he finally remembered to return that shovel he borrowed last spring? – but I shall always cherish the many stories I have made up about him since yesterday morning.

Why I oughta…

46 comments:

Joshua said...

That's creepy, perhaps. And weird. And I know weird.

Debbie said...

I bet he just chooses different things to carry with him to give observant folks good blog fodder. Maybe tomorrow it will be a chicken:)

Sarah said...

Maybe he's a big procrastinator and this winter season found him without any shovels, and by the time he got to Home Depot to buy one, they were all out and he was forced to buy a regular shovel to use instead.

This happens, as my hubby & I found out last fall when we wanted to buy a rake and they were completely out. Made me happy as we went with a combo leaf blower and mulcher apparatus instead.

Pearl said...

:-) This is why I love riding the bus. I hope he DOES show up with a chicken tomorrow!

Grant said...

Dave Barry already trumped this one when he wrote about a guy who was barred from a commercial flight because he tried to board with a leaf blower. He openly wondered what kind of job required lawn implements and cross-state travel.

I miss a lot of conversation and local color since I drive to work alone in my Toyota. Thank the zombie jebus.

Sausage Fingers said...

I think knocking Ozzy's dick in the dirt is a reference to - ah shit I have no idea

Cake Betch said...

Some odd things I've seen people bring on the bus (and this is the campus-service bus, not a regular bus): An iced tea machine, a birthday cake, and a large painting. I think it's worse when I sit next to people who are talking to themselves though. Crazy scares me.

Maundering mutterer said...

I had no idea that busses could be inspiring places. Live and learn...

Pearl said...

Grant, my fondest wish is to become Dave Barry some day. Well, maybe not to become him, but maybe to write like him.

Kristy said...

I think you should get on the bus tomorrow with a hoe.

Bossy Betty said...

I am all for a pitchfork next.

George said...

First of all, you're much prettier than Dave Barry. Second of all I like your writing a little bit more.

Pearl said...

Kristy, I'm pretty sure there might already be hoes on the bus.

HEY-OH!

Not strictly true, but I oculdn't resist.

And THANKS, George! :-)

Elizabeth said...

Does it say something about me that I immediately assume that he's burying a body in his root cellar?

Oilfield Trash said...

Hmmm maybe he was on his way to see his elected officials......

The Jules said...

Maybe it was a pet shovel and he was on his way to get it spade.

Susan in the Boonies said...

A man steps on a bus with a shovel in his hands...

Sounds like it COULD be the beginning of a good joke.

Frankly, I think it's a metaphor. As in, he digs you.

~snort~

I crack me up.

Brian Miller said...

he obviously works in the corporate world and uses it to shovel all the ^$#^% his boss gives him...lol

take the shoes off and rassle...there is an image...i tell you...on a bus no less...

Hilary said...

Oh he was just breezing through to help you dig a little deeper into that fertile imagination of yours so that yet another blog post could grow. If you ever see him again, thank him for me.

Leenie said...

This place rocks! The only problem is sneaking a peek during office hours and choking on the laughter.

Hoes on the bus!! Shovels, chickens, birthday cakes. If it was here and it was a leaf blower the reason would be to clear the snow off the cars at the dealership. Saw a guy doing a fine job of bringing the cars out of the latest heap of white stuff as I walked to work this morning.

Better, much better than Dave Barry!

Pearl said...

Oh, Jules. :-) Jules, Jules, Jules.

Sweet Cheeks said...

Do the math...

Man + Shovel = Mafia hit.

=]

Irisheyes said...

I have to admit, I agree with Elizabeth and Sweet Cheeks. That man just done buried someone!! I also agree with George and Leenie...better than Dave Barry! Great Post Pearl.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

One of my favourite things back in NY was seeing the stuff people drag onto the subway. If you sat all day riding the train you were guaranteed a myriad of interesting and baffling items being paraded in front of you.

A shovel on a bus, however? That's just cuckoo. Did he perchance also have a giant hockey gear bag that might hold a body?

The Vegetable Assassin said...

I now see I am not first to think along these lines. Drat....

I said "drat"!

randine said...

OMG that was hilarious! I love the saying "knocked Ozzy's dick in the dirt." It makes for a great visual.
Actually, the visual on that is very disturbing. But I like it still. In fact, I kind of want to use it sometime. But it's just not the kind of sentence that lends itself to most conversations.

Eva Gallant said...

Pearl, you are way funnier than Dave Barry!

mrwriteon said...

So, are you writing a bus book? Your bus anecdotes are priceless and sometimes surreal, but in a very good way. I'd buy your bus book. I could even swap some bus tales with you.

Mamma has spoken said...

Ozzy's dick, something that makes one go "EWWWWWW"

Jhon Baker said...

That is interesting, really interesting, and could easily spawn a lot of stories. In summer it would be one thing but in the middle of a mid-western winter! golly, my brain just started working.

Pearl said...

More amusing than worriesome in the winter, that's for sure.

I am, by the way, working on another book but haven't figured it out yet: either a collection of stories about the bus or one of tales from Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys)...

Gigi said...

Boy if the transportation system around here was worth a darn, I'd have to start taking it just to see what some of "these" folks would bring.

But what absolutely amazes me is that this guy and his shovel were sitting RIGHT ACROSS from you and you never noticed. Methinks you must have skipped your caffeine that morning....

Simply Suthern said...

They should put a holder on the front of the bus beside the bike rack. You never know how many folks dont bring their tools because they have no place to put them.

Douglas said...

The obvious answers to all this (consulting the discolored crystal ball) are:

The wife called him at work and reminded him to bring home a shovel or, alternatively, his cubicle mate finally returned that shovel he borrowed last Spring.

Ozzy, as I understand it, was often face down in the dirt, or carpet, or whatever was below him so it's no big deal to "knock Ozzy's dick in the dirt" (a colorful way to say "I kicked his butt")

Irish Gumbo said...

Maybe he was just carrying it to mess with people's heads. Heh.

Try carrying a meat grinder on the bus, see what happens there :)

NotaSupermom said...

I had to take my Christmas tree home on the subway.

I was not a source of amusement and wonder to the other riders, I'm pretty sure.

Lazarus said...

Pearl, there's a saying that a friend of mine from England uses quite a bit "The sh*t before the shovel." I'm not exactly sure what it means (perhaps a Brit can comment with an explanation) but I hope you let the shovel off the bus before you!

Val Thevictorian said...

I used to work with a prim and proper lady who told a tale of transporting a toilet seat on a St. Louis city bus. It was the early 1950s, and her roommates voted her the one purchase the toilet seat and bring it home. She was mortified.

On My Soapbox said...

Maybe Shovel Man just buried someone. Or Maybe he was on his way to bury someone. With the ground frozen, it would take some time....

That Janie Girl said...

Love your stories, Pearl!

Tracy said...

LOL at your story. Its the little things that get you thinking.
I would relate the "Ozzy's dick in the dirt" story for future generations. Mind you they won't know who Ozzy was would they. The young ones only know now because he was with the Beiber on a comercial.lol.
Oh ya and you can have your sardines...head and all, teehee

The Elephant's Child said...

Years back I was on a train and an elderly woman got on with a locked cat basket in addition to her shopping. I love cats so I was perving. A little bit later she reached into her handbag and got out a key to the cat cage. I was agog. She carefully unlocked the basket and reached inside to pull out ... a bunch of bananas. She then carefully relocked the cat cage. To this day I regret not asking her what was going on.

John McElveen said...

“knocked Ozzy’s dick in the dirt”.

Hence the man with the shovel! Even though it's frozen! I hope he doesn't try to fly!

Great great post!

J

hoodyhoo said...

All I know is... if you're gonna knock somebody's dick in the dirt... you better bring a shovel...

Barbara Blundell said...

A shovel ?? Nothing remarkable there . As a ten year old I once had to take the vacuum cleaner (an upright one at that ) on the bus to drop off at a repair shop on the way to school The shop was closed and I had to take the said cleaner to school with me. Teacher wasn't very pleased but did let me store it behind the blackboard until home time . Was my face red

Pat Tillett said...

I have no idea, but it sure made for a good story! Hmmm....