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Sunday, January 6, 2013

I'll Take Freaks on the Bus for $100, Alex

Lately, there’s 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 and what that does to your chances of gainful employment.

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 then,” he says.

He sits down somewhere behind me.

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

 

40 comments:

Douglas said...

His Harley is in the shop, no doubt.

Sioux said...

I am sure a hush fell over the whole bus, when that Hallmark-moment happened.

My eyes are tearing up over just the memory. (Or is it because of the odor wafting over from one of the unclean passengers?)

joeh said...

Rock on with your bad self.

Perpetua said...

You probably made his day too, Pearl. :-)

Happy New Year (I'm a bit behindhand with my greetings in 2013)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

You go girl!!!

Ms Sparrow said...

You kinda wonder what your facial expression might have been to prompt him to ask if you're all right! Was it astonishment? Bemusement? Were you visibly cringing or suppressing a giggle (probably not at that time of the morning). But then again, maybe he was not used to people making eye contact and actually acknowledging his existence. In which case, you most definitely made his day! Good goin'!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

I think you were likely headed to a few profane statements from him (because you were staring) but your comment defused him....now he thinks you were just admiring his 'look'. Hey..what's not to admire?

jenny_o said...

A kind soul disguised as a Heavy Metal Dude. A kind soul just the same.

I love finding kind souls.

jenny_o said...

P. S. Leastways, that's how I choose to see it :)

Joanne Noragon said...

Interesting other lives, what. Those rail thin donut guys probably will outlive us all. Expecially if the piercing are minimal. One ear or two.

savannah said...

a Smithsonian-grade rocker from the split-ends of his graying, mid-waist hair to the tips of his biker boots. i KNOW this guy! ok, one very similar to him right here in my little town! ;~) xoxoxo

Macy said...

And only one stop down the line from you Pearl!

Ian Lidster said...

I like smoke and lighnin', heavy metal thunder -- you, my cherished friend, have just got to write that bus book because you capture perfectly all my omnibus angst with your musings.

Cloudia said...

sounds more eventful than riding on my scooter in high winds




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Eva Gallant said...

You paint such interesting pictures of humanity with your words.

Daisy said...

That bus sounds like a big can of mixed nuts! :D

The Retired One said...

Yes, that facial expression that lured him to ask you if you were okay might have been constipation or you stiffling a giggle, but it gained us a great blogpost on your part, and for that, we thank him!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Sweet. And seriously, you'll clean up on that whole category.

Roshni AaMom said...

The fact that he was worried about you tells me that he's a good soul! :)

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

You had Tuesday morning...and don't forget that night he sang to you and all the other bar patrons: "Done Dirt Cheap!"

Munir said...

People think that I am a kind soul. However there are rules not to feed stray cats. There is one cat that I don't know if it is stray or not is hanging around meowing at dusk ( sometimes midnight too). What do I do? HE/She does not have a collar so I am not sure who to contact>

The Elephant's Child said...

I would love a book of your bus stories. Please. Pretty please. I ride the bus myself, and eavesdrop and ogle, but I have nothing like your panache.

Lin said...

Shoulda told him you were reading his jacket. :)

HermanTurnip said...

For whatever reason I misread that first line and thought I saw the term "angry sweatpants". I was, as you can image, confused for a second.

Actually, thinking about it a bit, "Angry Sweatpants" would be an awesome name for a band.

Red said...

I don't ride the bus but you can certainly pick the characters and do a great description of them.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Good for you... sounds like a real "moment of humanity" on the bus. Reminds me of the time we took our then-young daughter to a motorcycle swap meet years ago. At first, she was terrified of all the leather, chains, beards, and tattoos, until she had a revelation. They were nice people!

klahanie said...

Hey Pearl,

Gosh, look at all the love here, eh. Looking forward to you bringing over the new curtains! :)

You know your experiences on the bus remind me why I have this amazing love for my car. Yes, I'm going out to hug my car. And hey, Alex is Canadian and no, we wont mention that Bieber is Canadian. In fact, he is going to be sent to live in America, forever! You're very welcome...

Bye Pearl and hey, all this love, eh :)

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

When I read posts like this it makes me want to go and catch a bus

Rose L said...

Your eyes met his! Wow! I would have kept my eyes averted in fear of alien contact.

River said...

i have the feeling I would have looked at him too. I do love leather jackets.
I would LOVE for you to write a "Bus" book.
pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.

Linda O'Connell said...

He's intuitive underneath all that metal and hair. He reached out and touched you...no-no-no.

mapstew said...

He also rides my bus! :¬)

xxx

Jen said...

I love aging hippies.
Not that this guy was hippie, clearly. But there's something similar about him. The hair. The sweet attitude. The "I've-picked-a-style-and-I'm-stickin'-with-it, no-matter-how-old-I-get" confidence.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The bus people are among my favorite characters in your world, Pearl.

fishducky said...

I do not ride a bus--therefore, I must live vicariously through you...

Daisy said...

Could you ask him how he stays "rail thin" eating pizza and drinking beer? I love pizza and beer!

chlost said...

So many pizza boxes and bottles/cans in the trash, and yet he was on the morning bus! An enigma. Rock on, Pearl!

Jocelyn said...

I will not be okay with you ever NOT riding the bus.

Pat said...

Good for you Pearl.
She who is tired of the bus is tired of life:)

darlin said...

This so reminds me of...

"So he grows a little garden
In the backyard by the fence
He's consuming what he's growing
Nowadays in self defense
He gets out there in the twilight zone
Sometimes when it just don't make no sense.
...'Cause he's an old hippie
And he don't know what to do
Should he hang on to the old
Should he grab on to the new."

The way I reckon, some people resist change and don't want to give up the foggy comfort zone of what they're growing in the backyard! I hope you smile and think of this song on Tuesday mornings!

Cheers.