Bus Tales

I take the bus to work- (and everywhere else)- every morning. If I can't walk or cab it, that's my alternative mode of travel. Usually, the bus I take to work (A2)- has the same passengers going to their respective destinations. As a quiet observer, I find a number of things fascinating amongst the amalgam of travelers who ride with me every morning. One being the relationships/casual friendships..."bus friendships" if you will... that people establish with one another. The other fascinating element to riding the bus is how I am able to piece together the details of some of these people's lives just from listening to random snippets of conversation. There are the Polish ladies who gossip frenetically about this and that. Although I can't understand a damn thing they're saying, I know it's juicy gossip, due to the way they punctuate their conversations with crazy hand gestures; There are some of the magnet school students who sit in the back, talking loudly... carrying on several different conversations with one another, fighting to be heard over each other; There is the fair-skinned, middle-aged Black woman (I don't know her name) but for the past year 1/2 she has spoken to me every morning. She seems to be privy to everyone's background; There is this toothless older Black woman who sits there gumming for dear life as she reads the paper quietly; there are the ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens) adults/students who ride the A2 every morning, clutching their lunch bags and talking animatedly amongst each other; Finally, there is this rough and tumble looking brown skinned woman with cinnamon streaked dreadlocks who loves to say, "they're blessed" when referring to children, the ARC group, and such. Sometimes the ARC clique forget to ring the bell, but the bus driver always knows to let them off at the stop in front of the big, brick ARC building. Everyday, these passengers expound on minute, yet significant details about their lives. By week's end, I can determine what their stories or problems are. I'm saying in my mind, "ohh, I get it now." It's almost like watching an episode to a live TV series. You miss a couple of day's worth and you feel lost... until eventually, the characters reveal those two or three key details you need, to fully grasp the situation. The ARC clique's main character is this bespectacled man who usually sits there quietly smirking to himself or flicking his finger in and out in front of him as a source of amusement. Usually when one of his comrades- (usually this man who talks about sketching profiles from some art book or this set of identical twins who talk about wrestling)- is conversing with him, he simply repeats everything back to them. I actually was unaware that he even said anything beyond repetitive speak, until this morning... apparently so did a couple of other passengers were unaware as well... As the ARC crew descended the steps of the bus, Dreadlocks said, "Bye, see ya'll lata!" Finger Flicker responded, "Bye, have a nice day!" and made off down the stairs. A pleasantly surprised Dreadlocks turned to the fairskinned Black woman, who was seated next to her, and said, "I didn't even know he could speak!" Fairskinned turned to her and said, "Oh yeaahhh. They can do a lot of things." Being privy to some of these people's stories, she proceeded to tell Dreadlocks what town Finger Flicker was from and all. "Do you think he dresses hisself?" Dreads asked her. "Oh, if he can take the bus by himself every mornin' and get off at his stop, I'm sure he can. I see him waiting just over there on Woodland Street in the afternoons, waiting for the bus to go home." Fairskinned responded, as she pointed to said area. Dreads nodded her approval as she looked off out the window, muttering, "Yu-up. They're blessed." Just then, Fairskinned asked Dreads, "How's that doin?" as she nodded towards what I was figuring to be her leg. Dreads launched into a story about how she got into an argument about "it" with her mother, because she doesn't want to "go in to have it done" because it'd be an inconvenience to her and her busy life and how it wasn't bothering her bad enough at this point. Fairskinned said, "So if it's not broke, then don't fix it, eh?" Dreads replied, "Yup. Your body lets you know when you need to go. It's fine now. Well see you tomorrow" and she got off at her stop. I missed the 8:25 bus Monday morning and was late to work, so I missed the crucial part of this particular story. By the time my stop came up, however, I was able to determine that they were talking about Dread's leg. There are so many interesting characters who ride the bus in general. The other day, some young dude got on with his mother and sister whilst some other guy (I didn't turn to look at him) exclaimed, "DAAAAAAAAAAG, you look OLD yo'! Did you just get out! HAHAHAHA you look OLD!! You looked OLD when you were like 18!!! HAHAHAHAHA!" The guy got up from the front where he was sitting and sauntered to the back, to speak to his mocking acquaintance. Needless to say the whole ride, the guy lectured and made fun of him... telling him how he needs to find a job, because he was a "lousy hustler" and how he'd go right back in, until finally Young-Old told him to "yo' shut up yo' Don't be giving me no lecture! Shit" I'm an avid people watcher, so taking the bus is somewhat of a fun and interesting.. and at times harrowing experience for me. Regardless of how bizarro, annoying, rude, obnoxious or friendly the passengers are, I always get off knowing their individual stories.... Then I get to exploit them in stories, on this blog, and beyond (tee hee.)

3 comments

  1. i take the bus often too. folks are real cool. i eavesdrop all the time...

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  2. Anonymous12:43 AM

    Public transportation is an adventure each time you use it! I took the bus today, however, and there was no exciting story...it just smelled like pee.
    -Cat

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  3. hahahaha
    Bus Tales indeed. I just got offa there today.
    Um, it smells pissy or B.O.ey on occassion. And during those times I just slap on my headphones to drown out the smelly pain.
    I had to cuss the portly and rude busdriver today, 'cause he tried to go pass my stop in a bid to beat the clock.

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