I think I really freaked someone out today.
So, I was taking the bus from home to the downtown public library (that's where Seattleites go to dribble and shout at dustmotes in the air, if my carrel neighbors are any indication). My bus driver was of the persuasion that thinks the only way his passengers will know he's really making the effort is to drive like Tarzan on crack -- taking corners tire-squealingly fast, aiming for the potholes that are biggest and approaching red lights like a man with a grudge, stomping so hard on the brakes that the back end of the bus accordions up into the front end and the delinquents in the back practically end up on the driver's lap.
To begin with, the driver was eight minutes late to my stop, and when I got on, he hit the gas before I'd had the chance to find a seat. Normally, this doesn't bother me; I have reasonable balance and can find a seat even while moving and chewing gum. Normally, the bus driver isn't trying to set some kind of 0 to 60 record for diesel-powered public transit either. He hit the gas so hard, I pinballed my way down the aisle at break-neck speed and ended up smooshed against the back window like one of those Garfield dolls with the suction feet. Ha bloody frickin' ha.
I unpeeled myself from the inside back window and managed to crawl to a seat next to a nervous-looking little old lady. She was white-knuckling the metal support bar in front of her with one hand while death-gripping her oversized granny purse with the other. I smiled at her as I went to sit down, but of course the driver was aiming for a biker just then, veered to hit him, and dumped me in the old lady's lap. She helpfully bony-elbowed me into the proper position, scowled politely and stared straight ahead in a neighborly we're-all-in-this-together sort of manner.
The bus careened and swooned its way down Jackson towards the downtown, scattering pigeons and elderly Asians as it went. Bags were vibrating themselves off people's laps as we hit crap road surface at teeth-jangling speeds. One guy tried to have a cell-phone conversation, but his head and the hand holding his cell phone were moving at such variable speeds, he looked more like he was trying to shave.
After a particularly jarring thump off a pothole big enough to go spelunking in, I was thoroughly pissed off that this Nascar reject was in control of the bus. "I am going to kill this driver!" I hissed, out loud. (It's hard to hiss silently -- you end up sounding asthmatic.)
Just after I said this and just as I registered my seatmate's intensified look of alarm, I realized I really didn't know the best stop to get off the bus. I banged and clattered my way to the front of the bus, leaping from support pole to handhold, desperately gripping anything that might keep me upright as we slalomed through the city. I really didn't want to distract the driver from his murderous intentions, but I leaned down and asked him the best stop for the library. It appeared we were at it. In fact, we might have been slightly past it. He slammed on his brakes (it required him actually standing up to bring the bus to a stop -- I could just hear him shouting 'Whoa, Nelly!' in his fat, redneck-banded head), and I got off.
As I was stepping down off the bus, I realized how that must have looked to the nervous lady I'd been sitting next to: I make a threat on the driver's life, then immediately head to the front of the bus, whisper something in his ear that causes him to slam on the brakes, and get off. She must have thought she'd narrowly averted being part of some kind of attack. And seriously, considering the depth her bony elbow penetrated my sternum, she really had.