In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Category Archives: overheard
A young woman, to her girlfriend: “He’s always texting me, saying, ‘Come upstairs and watch TV.’ I can watch TV at my own house. My house looks just the same as his.”
Older gentleman waiting nearby, after some initial pleasantries: “You in love with somebody?”
Bus Chick: “I’m married.”
Older gent: “That’s not what I asked.”
Touché. And yes.
A young girl (around seven or eight) is sitting near the back with some young adult caregivers (camp counselor types), chatting about her interests, friends, and et cetera.
Adult 1, in (a rather inexplicable) response to the mention of a particular friend: “Are you going to marry Casey C?”
Girl: “No! You’re supposed to marry a boy.”
Hmm. Guess they picked the right route for that conversation.
This exchange was overheard by Randy C., a Seattle native who recently finished college in Arizona and is now back in the 2-0-sickness (and riding Metro) full time. Welcome home, Randy!
Due to the inevitable early month fare-increase drama/confusion, a passenger who is paying for two of his friends to ride finds himself short the amount of cash the driver has quoted him. The passenger then reveals that one of his friends is 17 therefore does not have to pay the $2.25 adult peak fare. The driver’s reply:
“Sugar, I don’t read minds. I drive buses, okay?”
A cell phone snippet from a young gentleman on his way to band practice:
“Yeah, I was going to try to show you my nipple.”
Two early twentysomething women are talking relationships in the seat directly in front of me.
Early twentysomething woman 1: “He even helped me clean up the apartment. Like, I asked him to put the dishes away and give the dog some water, and he did it.”
ETW2: “That’s really cool. John would totally have been watching TV.”
ETW1: “I know. He’s a good guy, from a nice family. They’re atheists, but he’s a really good person.”
Driver, over the PA: “Sixth and James–last stop in the Ride Free Zone. Again, this is the last stop in the Ride-Free Zone. All of you who ‘lost your transfers’: This would be a good place to get off.”
A bus newbie, to the driver: “Hey, do they always gas the buses up at night or something? Because I never see buses at the gas station.”
There is no better place to hear involved discussions about America’s dominant mode of transportation (other than a NASCAR race or a singles’ bar, that is) than the bus. Bus riders love to talk cars. They talk about car problems: squeaky breaks and worn-out clutches and dragging mufflers; cars previously owned and then lost or sold; cars that will be purchased when there’s enough money; cars that idle next to the bus at lights–especially those that aren’t being properly driven or maintained.
Mostly, though, they talk about cars that are waiting–in parking lots and parents’ garages and mechanics’ shops …