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Thursday, November 3, 2011

I’ll Take Weirdos on the Bus for $100, Alex

Lately, there’d been an excessive amount of ugliness on the bus: angry parents; sweatpants with disturbingly stressed seams; unprecedented sharing of one’s political views, sexual preferences and TV viewing habits.

Sometimes all at once.

Despite my fascination with human beings and the very, very many ways that they are weird, I’d grown tired of Tay-Tay’s shouting, become disenchanted by Pierce’s limb-by-limb, hole-by-hole body-hardware display.

Yes, yes, yes, Pierce. The additional perforations in your skull are very attractive. See there? You’ve caught the eye of a fellow body-modification artist. Perhaps you can get together, have a drink or two, count up how many holes the two of you have compared with the average human.

Rock on, as we used to say, with your bad self.

I was feeling tired of the bus.

And when you are tired of the bus, well, you’re pretty tired, aren’t you?

And I was. Until…

Ladies and gentlemen, have we yet discussed Heavy Metal Dude?

He boards Tuesday morning, one bus stop after me, a Smithsonian-grade rocker from the split-ends of his graying, mid-waist hair to the tips of his biker boots. The jean vest over his black leather jacket is festooned with the decals and badges of dozens of bands: Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Deep Purple, Scorpions. He is not handsome, but he is smiling. He is rail thin, a late-night eater of donuts and Cheetohs, a man whose recycling bins, I imagine, are full of beer cans and pizza boxes…

He walks up the aisle toward the back of the bus. He is the middle-aged anti-Bieber, the skinny, grinning Ozzy to the bus’s dove-headed predictability.

He sees me staring.

He smiles. “You all right?” he says.

I blink, smile back. “Gettin’ better all the time,” I say.

He nods, a brief dip of the chin. “Well all right,” he says.

He sits down somewhere behind me.

We do not speak again, but we will always have Tuesday morning.

50 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

A pleasant exchange on the bus. Whatever next?

That gentleman's lady said...

I saw one of them on the train yesterday. I stared. Good thing he didn't notice. Mine had a thick collar around his neck too!

Belle said...

Seems he has a good heart under his costume.

I did get tired of people in Vancouver sometimes. You never knew what they would say or do next. One guy at the bus stop made me feel good by asking me out for New Year's Eve. When you are in your late fifties it's a compliment, even when the guy is drunk.

Leenie said...

Glad you stared and shared. Gives real variety to a boring Idaho in the Sticks morning. I commend him on his taste and his manners.

R. Jacob said...

I think you continue to whet our future bus desires!

haphazardlife said...

Serendipitous niceness.

Gotta love when that happens, especially on a bus.

Denise said...

That would be the normal guy on the bus here in Tucson.

Plenty to stare at down here. Like the guy who made himself a helmet out of pop can tabs. He also held his pants seams together with them.

Nessa Roo said...

Awww...I have loved me a couple of Heavy Metal Men in my lifetime. When my Aunt Brenda sees one in the general public, she later describes him as "He had Nessa written all over him!"
(Though, to be honest, I have not limited myself to that genre.)

mermaid gallery said...

Sometimes the fashion choices and lifestyle choices are quite baffling....but the bus gives you a great overview of society......friendliness is always the best approach though....way to be!

Simply Suthern said...

The only buses I get a chance to ride only move me betwixt the aiport and parking and the the airport and rental car facilities.

They have their own blend of wild eyed riders either late for their plane or eager to get home but they tend to lack the extremes of your daily commute.

And maybe thats OK.

Glen said...

If I were you I'd have gone in to auto and said "dunno - the labels dropped off" before realising that he hadn't actually asked what i was looking at!

i'm like thet

Sush said...

communication is an art...lol!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

But don't they inspire you to be a LITTLE edgier, when you see them so uninhibited like that?

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

I like Heavy Metal Dude. He seems an amiable stoner.
Anyway, they'll have to pry my ACDC shirt off my cold, dead body. Rock on, sista-friend.
:)

ellen abbott said...

Really? You think he recycles? And don't vests usually go under the jacket? Ah, well, a smile is a smile.

Vicus Scurra said...

Fortunately, on this side of the Atlantic, no-one ever speaks to, or even acknowledges, anyone else on public transport. Even if you've been married to them for 43 years.
It saves so much embarrassment.

Joyful Things said...

I hate getting caught in 'the stare' and a good pair of reflector shades handles that problem. Good comeback on the "getting better" - you probably made him feel responsible for your elevation in mental well being!

Eva Gallant said...

Whatever would we do without your bus blog fodder! You always entertain!

jenny_o said...

One of the good guys. Nice counterpoint to the nutjobs, eh? Your last line made me smile.

Douglas said...

HMD sounds much like one of my doddering buddies of advanced age (as we all are). Except he needs those biker boots for the Harley he bought several years ago. And they go well with the fishhook earring and the (not all that long) ponytail. But he's not into heavy metal, just Jimmy Buffett music. And Bud Lite.

WrathofDawn said...

"... the middle-aged anti-Bieber..."

The world could use more of those.

Must remember the, "Getting better all the time." rejoinder. So positive!

Susan in the Boonies said...

I can totally picture him.

You paint portraits of humanity better than almost anyone I know, Pearl!

Shelly said...

Even rocker dinosaurs are a pleasant respite from what we see every day, although I think I'd like to see heavy metal dude at least once...

Roshni said...

...and you're confident that he recycles?!!

Michelle said...

No kidding. ..Ross- Schar- Ball...all.
And CONYANDO YAN?
Complete meltdown with NYE- NY.
But the beauty of Austria is that REASEVIN got 24?
All gutless like hell.
And SICATE giving absolutely all they got.
AK's - METTETAL - MADSEN.

Pearl said...

Thursdays are always such a busy day for me, but just wanted to stop in to laugh with you guys. :-) As I've said before, the best part of this blog is that the comments are often as good as the posts themselves...

On another note, my blog was reported as "abusive" by someone on FB. :-( I'm pretty weirded out, but then again, all you have to do to report something as "abusive" is click a button. The undoing of said button -- that's a whole 'nother story.

Which you will no doubt get an ear full of once I write about it. :-)

Pearl said...

Michelle, I'd like you a lot more if you gave us the decoder ring that goes along with your comments.

jen said...

I love the way you see people! I work in a jail and am often asked, "aren't you scared?"--well, no, it's the best people watching job around! Especially on weekend nights! You'd love it, I believe :-)

Dan said...

Haha...pierced in various places that i am, i am not one to discuss in the proximity of strangers...which is what i am doing now, but its different...
reminds me of the bus i used to catch a few years ago...being creatures of habit most peeps would 'claim' a seat for themselves and sit their day in and day out...
one day one of our more roomier bus mates discovered a new commuter had taken his seat...space forbids me describing the hell that broke loose...
i dont like heavy metal...much...except for christian grindcore death metal...thats funny hee hee

Simply Suthern said...

Abusive? Really? Watch out, They may try to "Occupy Pearl's Bus Stop" next.

Daisy said...

Pearl, you make me want to move to a big city just to ride the bus! Well- almost. :-) I'm sure we must have a HMD or two around town.
Daisy's Barbara

Suldog said...

As you know, I dig metal. I often wonder, when I'm attending a concert, where some of my fellow attendees keep themselves during the day. Most match your description of your new-found friend, but I never see them anywhere but at the concerts.

El Gato said...

Being, (or having been many moons ago) an HMD myself, your response tickled me. I take the subway and train all the time at two hours each way, I definitely get some interesting characters, what would you expect from the Los Angeles area! You can catch me Mon, Wed, Friday on the rails, headphones on,(over the ear of course!)bopping on down the road. Cheers, love your blog Pearl!

Michelle said...

WEELY PEARL?
Ok.
JENNIFER ANISTON lives here with JOHHNY DEPP and BRAD PITT.
You call it " PARCORAT ".
It's the RESSEN you joined IRONICUS MAXIMUS blog.
And not only that, JOHN PARKER is very good " FRENZ" with all of you!
You see why people object to your blog that care about " dogs"?
And they all are saying you and your company is with HMD..HER MAJESTY & DASSAULT in " NEW VIOLENCE"!
And all the AK'S with BUSHES and NRA is a " given".
Guess those are your " Weirdos" in OSIRIS.
With " RED" and BORDST?
So, SICATE to MIRROGE, that's why you got " complaints".

Gigi said...

"Some" people make my head hurt....but Heavy Metal Dude would have made me smile too. But then kindness always does.

Little Miss Sarcastic said...

We have a few HMD's in town. They usually meet at a local coffee shop on a Sunday morning for a latte after they've been out for a motorbike ride.

Michelle said...

I told you..Rick ID'd Dassault long ago.
It was " payback" for Rove 's ID of Ger.

The Jules said...

Decoder ring? We're going to need the Rosetta Stone for this one.

Heavy Metal Dude sounds cool.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Oh Pearl, I was laughing at the title and then with every sentence. I love your detailed descriptions of his garb, diet and all. As always I'm in awe of your writing. You really are getting better all the time.
xoRobyn

klahanie said...

Ah yes, the wonders of public transport. Which reminds me, I have found out that 'Metrosexual' is someone with a rather strange obsession of public transport.
You also made me think of this. Yes, I've been known to think.
Lets not forget the times you have been on an almost empty bus. The guy who has had a bit too much to drink, who has plenty of seating options, sits down right beside, or should I say, on top of you. And what does he talk about? This guy with bad breath and body odour? Well, of course, he goes on about the kids these days, the state of the nation, politics, religion and finishes by letting you know the true meaning of life. You smile and hopefully nod your head at the right times. As you try desperately to get off the bus, ten miles before your destination, he gives you a big hug and promises to be your best friend forever.

Thanks for an hilarious story, Pearl. I'm sending you a dollar for the pop machine :) See ya later, eh...

Michelle said...

Actually,it's Remy that has the list on those Lears and DINGU?
RY is a very bad boy..but like you say Pearl..." Rock on"....with your bad self.

Cloudia said...

never make eye contact on public transport, LOL


Aloha from Honolulu

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River said...

I once replied "better than yesterday" to a similar question and we talked for the whole trip. Never saw him again....

Pizza boxes should never be recycled, they're just too greasy.

Crystal Pistol said...

A rail thin cheeto eater? No fair. I gain 10 pounds at the very thought of Chester Cheetah and his cheese meter. :)

Glad things got better for ya.

Tempo said...

Hey, it worked for him in the 60's and the 70's...why not now?

looby said...

Public transport (I'm speaking from the UK here), which I use all the time, not having a car (and I wouldn't know what to do with one if I did have one) was better before everyone plugged themselves into iPods and Walkmans. It's a bit sad how everyone insulates themselves with a personal soundtrack now. I'm an incessant sociable talker, but even I can't get past an iPod.

Roses said...

I totally get the bus ride. And yes, sometimes the crazies are too much to take.

But what always gets me, is sometimes the smile from the unlikeliest of people.

Rock on sistah!

PS. I've been trying to invite you to my blogs! You no reply!

Symdaddy said...

OK, so first off all, I'm sorry! I meant to be here before the rush but, ya know how it is ... works sometimes gets in the way ... you get side-tracked.

Anyway, I'm here now, so stop yer sobbing and listen up.

I am (mumble-mumble) years old and grew up in the good ol' days of heavy metal infancy. I AM that man on the bus (although I never take the bus). So anytime you wanna pay me a $100 for head-banging bus ride, gimme a call.

I'll come-a-hobblin'!

Pat said...

The last line made me grin insanely.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Yes, Pearl, the HMD's get so much better-less threatenig-with age. Maybe someday the (not so young then) Tay-Tay and Pierce will seem friendly to someone else on the bus younger than us. Does that make sense? Am I making more sense than some of the other commenters on this post? I could send a ring (or a stone) your way if it would help.