Friday, May 18, 2007

And they've all come to look for America

The Bus Ride by Hieronymous Bosch

Thanks to a fortuitous schedule and good weather, for the last few weeks I've been able to commute to work by a bus/bike combo. It's been really nice, actually: from one school to the other, I ride on three different trails, and I'm starting to develop nodding acquaintances with the commuters riding the other direction. One trail is apparently being used by the government to conduct wind-tunnel experiments, but apart from that, the riding part is cool.

The bad bit? The bus. Oy. What a collection of heavy-weight no-hopers. It's a bit like being picked up by the cops because I bear a distant resemblance to someone who once did something naughty, and now I'm spending my evenings slouched in my seat, trying not to be noticed or to shout out: "I don't belong here! I'm not one of you!" I wear my bike helmet the whole time which makes me look like one of the crazies, I suppose, but which also protects me from loogies, high-lobbed crack pipes, and the aliens which are apparently drilling holes in the head of the woman across from me. It's a sea of insanity, and me without my water wings.

Not everyone on the bus is nuts, of course, and the few of us who don't think we're Harry S. Truman (or Harriet Tubman, I can't tell; they mumble) cower in the front, practically sitting on the driver's lap for protection. As the shouting and animal noises continue in the back, we catch each other's eyes sympathetically, give tiny "we're all in this together" smiles and clutch our transfers -- tickets from this eighteen-wheeled Bosch painting to another one.

And naturally, buses in this area being what they are, the bus ride home is a mere 30 minutes shorter than the bike ride going the other direction. I would ride home, but it's late and dark by the time I leave class, and one of the trails is the Green River Trail, and that just seems like asking for it.

So to all the crazies and to the just plain bullying and rude: I see you. You have been seen. You may now stop acting like a performing monkey on crack just to get the attention of total strangers. We're all very impressed. Now shut up and sit down; the head-drilling aliens can't see you if you don't move.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Spittin' Distance

So there I am at the bus stop, all kitted out in my bike gear complete with smugface, and there's this totally gross guy who simply cannot quit spitting. After the first incident, which landed directly on the sidewalk in front of the bus stop, I gave him my Petrifying Gaze, and he managed to direct his phlegm to the gutter from then on out, but seriously, it was like every few seconds. Is this evidence of a glandular disorder, or what?

OK, I realize in the grand scheme of things, I rate pretty low on the Squeam Scale of Tolerance for All Things Gross, but this was beyond the pale. So I tackled him, rubbed his nose in it and said, "bad trashy bus-stop boy!" I think he got the point.