Coffee Rhetoric: Bus Tales: Black Friday

November 29, 2008

Bus Tales: Black Friday

Oh yes. It is the return of Bus Tales indeed. I've never really paid much attention to the day after Thanksgiving so aptly dubbed Black Friday. See, while I can appreciate an excellent deal, and love sales more than the next spender, I'm not a shopaholic. In fact, I hate shopping and do it online in the quiet sanctity of my home, pants optional. I cannot stand large crowds or places where massive groups of people congregate, and so I avoid places like parades, festivals, strip malls on the weekend, crowded elevators (if I can), buses packed to capacity (sometimes I have no choice), and spaces of the like.
INTRO: Friday, Early AM- Late Afternoon
Yesterday, my sisters were up at 4:30AM primed and ready to go huntin' for great post-Thanksgiving deals. I turned over and went back to sleep on my mother's chaise lounge. As the day progressed, I rocked back and forth, going through cell-phone withdrawal, because I lost mine last Saturday. I felt discombobulated (I've grown so attached) and cut off from the rest of society without it, but I sat and lazed about... procrastinating over having to go out into this Black Friday world where folks were getting stomped to death by crazed lunatics trying to purchase $300 computers and being shaken down by sneaky perps lying in wait, ready to rob happy shoppers swinging their bags in the crisp, autumn air. It was late in the afternoon, and my sisters still hadn't arrived.
I waited. And pissed around. Procrastinated. Waited... before finally deciding to go shower. Bathed and freshly scrubbed, I still did eff all. I effed around on my mom's computer. I ate more Thanksgiving desserts, while web surfing and emailing folks back and forth. Finally at around 3ish, my sisters returned. Frazzled and spent. I slowly got up from the computer and shuffled around deciding it was now or never. I figured the bulk of the crowd had probably dissipated. My mother shook her head at my late start. I shrugged at her. Needless to say, the mall was besieged by manic shoppers, large baby carriages, and mischievous teenagers meeting to do who knows what. I saw the diablo in everyone's eyes. I weaved in and out of bodies, trying hard to duck heavy, swinging shopping bags... throbbing and bursting at the seams from marked down merchandise! I suddenly felt faint. Faces started to bleed together, eyes became large and black, no whites to speak of. I started to sweat in that hot mall and undid the top button to my coat. My kneecaps started to go numb. I knew T-Mobile was just around the corner and I hung on for dear life as I forced my legs to work at a feverish pace so I could do my business and get the fuck out of there.
Needless to say, the BUS ride to the mall and back was just as harrowing...
PROLOGUE
The bus was packed to capacity. I sat there in my seat as standees weaved unsteadily in front of me. Afraid that someone might fart in my face, step on my foot, or fall in my lap, I clutched my purse tighter. I put my leather gloves on. I took them off. One talkative guy sporting a plaid ivy cap, backpack and a limp arm (with a hand that had loooooong nails) who'd tried to engage me in conversation earlier at the bus stop about his early shopping experience, stood up front and ran his mouth to the bus driver (an attractive, full-figured, middle-aged Black woman) about a wide array of interesting topics. They included but aren't limited to: his taste in women, his dark side, how he was writing a book on numerology, philosophers, his temper, his aversion to spicy women and how they gave him heartburn, his preference for MILD women, more about his dark side, how he was a true artiste who had to go to school for it and hated anyone with natural talent and no passion, the 8 Guinness stouts he drank during Thanksgiving, a cat he had named Baby who knew how to doo-doo in the toilet and used to lick his face and massage his back, and subjects of the like. He went on and on.
Suddenly, I noticed a rather slight man running alongside the bus and then finally in the street, risking the risk of getting hit in the process. The bus driver cursed him before deciding to pull over and stop for him. Breathless and toothless, he complained about her not stopping initially... she told him to shut the hell up and be thankful that she stopped because she "didn't have to" and to stop "figuring" (he said he figured she didn't want to stop for him) and sit down somewhere. He kept muttering. "You're STILL complaining," the driver noted, in disbelief. He laughed, embarrassed at being scolded and squeezed up front with the rest of the standing bodies. I kept my eyes averted to the floor of the bus. Trying desperately not to give in to PSIS. The bus jerked forward, then stopped for a woman with a thick West Indian accent and close cropped hair, which she wore in a natural. She squeezed on and engaged the driver, the man with the limp arm, and the toothless complainer in a spirited conversation about Thanksgiving, the curried coat she said she'd made for herself, her divorce, and her upcoming Christmas trip to Jamaica.
"Oh, I wish I was going there!" the toothless man said excitedly. "Now Jamaican women are HOT!!!" he continued.
The limp arm man chimed in, agreeing. The West Indian woman chuckled with satisfaction. She turned to show her appreciation, unfortunately and much to my chagrin (because I'd been looking at the back of her head through the sea of standing bodies)- she was the exception. Weeell, the woman was attractive in that avante-garde Wandaesque (from In Living Color) but not as extremely fugly way, if you're into that, definitely no Grace Jones though. She had on a nice, stylish warm down coat, however and her accent was nice. She made her way off when her stop came up and bid the front of the bus revelers adieu. Still amped, the toothless man continued to cackle and talk about women with Limp Arm... suddenly an unused crack needle fell out of his pocket. No one seemed to notice but me. Due to my neuroses (read: keen eye), I always tend to note the minutiae. I was riveted and enthralled by the crack tool. I looked at the needle then back at Toofus. I looked across at a guy with black rimmed eyeglasses (and equally as amused by the cracktacular goings-on up front)- to see if he had noticed. He seemed caught up in the rapture of the conversation unfolding up front, so I don't think he did. I stared back at the crack needle. See, judging from Toofus's skinny build (he said he was 140 pounds during parts of the animated chatter), piss poor dental hygiene, and over excited demeanor I was 110% certain he wasn't a diabetic. He cackled, his body shook. He appeared antsy. Suddenly he caught my gaze, looked down and finally noticed he'd dropped the host to his lil piece of crack heaven on the floor. He hurriedly picked it up and nervously shoved it back in his jeans pocket without missing a beat. I smirked. This time he shoved it deep down, ensuring it was nestled and safe in the confines of his pocket. His stop finally came up, he quickly said his goodbyes and pushed off taking one last, brief look at me.
We'd finally made it to the mall, where I struggled and elbowed my way towards my destination...
Epilogue
The bus ride back to my mother's house was relatively normal until the bus picked up passengers from Vine Street, sometime after 7:20pm. One guy under the influence stumbled on, he stood up front fidgeting inside his coat picket. "I got my bus card driver, I ain't tryin' to get a free ride," he promised. "You can sit down and look for your card," the driver advised and lurched forward. The man stumbled up front, right across from me and next to an extremely large man in a red Salvation Army apron (one of the annual holiday bell ringers stationed outside major spots trying to raise money for the organization, no doubt). " 'Scuse me" Drunk Puss said to the man, who moved over, allowing Drunky more space. He continued to fiddle for his bus card. He looked across at me. I turned away quickly and closed my eyes. "Hey Miss!" I pretended not to hear. Kept my eyes closed. " 'scuse me, MISS!" ... my eyes stayed closed. "MISS!!" I finally opened my eyes and slowly turned in his direction. "I like your boots!" I blinked lazily at him. Disinterested. "They're so shiny, and nice, and full of goodness..." I turned away from him and closed my eyes once more. He continued to spout a bunch of ridiculous and drunk banter as he dug 'round for his bus pass... A man with a cane (who smelled like a booze fiesta) also stumbled on and plopped down next to me- (Liquor, meth and crack must've been marked down as well, because folks under the influence were out in droves). Drunk Puss was apparently familiar with the new passenger, stood up to greet and fell on top of the old man, knocking into my shoulder in the process. I sighed heavily, irritated, and squeezed my eyes shut tighter, and put my hand over my face to block the pain of this circumstance out. "Oh, I'm sorry!" Drunk Puss said to his acquaintance.
"I love you man, but not THAT much."
He found his bus pass and FINALLY made his way up to settle his fare. He plopped back down and caused some more drunken damage. Finally the bus driver jerked forward and pulled over to the side of the road. He switched on the light up front. Sighing and anxious to get home, I squeezed my eyes shut even tighter, annoyed by the slight delay. I heard the driver whispering on the emergency phone. Probably about Drunk Puss, to a supervisor. A preemptive measure perhaps? He sat there for about five minutes, " 'scuse me driver, is there a PROBLEM!" Drunk Puss yelled up at him. The driver didn't answer. "Hm. Should I get OFF??" he yelled. Someone from the back of the bus answered, "Yes!" Passengers snickered.
The resident drunk passenger finally stumbled off shortly after the driver took off, much to everyone's delight. I'm starting to truly understand WHY the day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday. It is undoubtedly a dark, scary experience. I'm none too worse for wear, however. And am furnished with a new cell phone to replace the lost one. I did this all for technology. ...