In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Category Archives: overheard
Children’s Museum play bus, 12:15 PM (or, What happens when you read The Wizard of Oz to a BCiT from the CD)
Chicklet, pretending to drive: “Next stop, 23rd & Oz! Yellow Brick Road.”
The entire Bus Fam is walking home from the 27 after a lovely downtown shopping adventure*. On the way, we run into a young gentleman who, though possibly somewhat intoxicated, is perfectly friendly and polite.
After saying hello to all of us, he puts his fist out, at Chicklet level, and asks for a pound. Chicklet looks down at his hand, gives him her (in)famous side eye, and says, “My knuckles are hurting.”
The man shrugs off the slight and tries again, this time with an open hand. “How about a high five?” he asks.
Chicklet looks at his …
Chicklet: “I wish the bus would do certain things.”
Bus Chick: “What things?”
Chicklet: “Take us to Uncle Jeremy’s house right now.”
Northbound 17, 11:30 AM (en route)
Somewhere on Dexter, we get a great view of Busling’s favorite building out our window.
Busling, hollering: “Hello, Space Needle! Helloooo Space Needle!”
Eventually, another building blocks his view.
Busling: “I don’t want to say goodbye.”
A woman boards at Harborview and immediately announces, “This bus smells like curry and armpits!”
I didn’t smell any curry.
Two high-school age girls are chatting in the seat facing the back door. The conversation is lighthearted, until one of the girls casually checks the ingredients of the “juice” concoction she is drinking.
Girl 1, staring at the bottle: “Skim milk? What’s skim milk?”
Girl 2: I don’t know. “Maybe it’s like soy milk. I can drink soy milk.”
They discuss for a few minutes but neither seems to know for sure. Girl 1 starts to become agitated. Both start looking around for someone to ask and finally tap a boy about their age, who is listening to his headphones.
The bus driver is talking relationships with the BDP (apparently, a regular passenger) in the seat nearest to him.
Driver: “You know what they say: If you can’t be with the one you love…”
BDP: “Love the one you’re with.”
Driver: “Yeah. Don’t tell her that, though. She’s the type that will kill the messenger.”
Back when I was a young BCiT, I made my grandma mad by (unintentionally) announcing her age to a full 55. At six, I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want people to know how old she was. Even now, I find all the shame and secrecy surrounding the number of years a person has been on the planet to be somewhat difficult to understand.
And when you ask her what kind of meeting the mommy pig is going to, she says, “A transit task force.”
Somewhere near Blanchet, two black, high-school age girls board. They use the back door, because it’s closer to them when the bus stops.
The driver immediately starts hollering at them to come to the front and pay. His tone is harsh, definitely out of bounds for the level of infraction. The girls do as he asks but do not comment until they find their seats, at which point they begin whispering to each other in earnest.
At UW Medical Center, a blonde, twentysomething woman boards through the back door, presumably for the same reason as the girls. Again, the driver …