In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Tag Archives: Overheard
A very drunk man is holding court in the back of the bus. “Happy Mother’s Day, family,” he says to (sleeping) Chicklet, Nerd, and me as we make our way to our seats. He proceeds to say the same to everyone within earshot, including a young teenage girl who is holding hands with her boyfriend in the adjacent seat.
Drunk man’s friend: “Who all you going to say that to, man?”
Drunk man: “Everybody. To the young ladies, I say ‘Happy Mother’s Day to be.’” Some folks say to me, ‘Oh, I’m not a mother; I missed my opportunity,’ …
The bus is late and crowded, so I am forced to sit in the very back.
To my left: Two dudes rolling joints, counting change, and discussing the relative fluid levels in their lighters.
To my right: A young woman talking on a cell phone, apparently to another young woman who is taking care of her child. She alternates between coaching the caretaker in the fine art of potty training (Ask him if he wants to go poo-poo.), giving orders to the child over the speaker (Darrell, I’m not playing–you’d better eat that sandwich!), and gossiping.
Westbound 4, noon-ish:
A Seahawk hater and a Seahawk fan are arguing about the team’s chances against Chicago. The hater, who believes the Seahawks cheated their way to victory last Saturday (according to him, Romo’s bobble was the result of special teams players greasing the ball), claims they will lose badly. The fan is convinced of victory. In fact, he is so sure that the Hawks will make it all the way to Miami that he plans to wear “Crip blue” in their honor for the entire playoffs.
Says the Seahawk hater: “I guess you’ll be wearing it …
A coworker conversation:
“I have, like, negative four hours of sick time. I think they’re going to take it out of my vacation, which so pisses me off. The next time I’m sick, I’m going to show up at work, put my head down on my desk, and like, breathe all over everyone.”
Little girl, to the driver: “Are you going to take us to the McDonald’s?”
A cell phone conversation:
“Do you have plans for Thanksgiving?” [pause] “Oh, good. I just didn’t want you to be out there with the cats and, like, a chicken pot pie or something.”
Today we took a trip to a Wolverine den in Issaquah for the big game. It didn’t go as well as Bus Nerd and his fellow alums had hoped, but at least I got to check out the new and improved Eastgate Park & Ride.
And then, on the 271 back to Seattle, there were the two old guys sitting in the front, trading stories of ailments and listening wistfully to the celebratory noises from the group of young men heading out for the night.
Old guy 1: “When I hear those young guys laughing, it makes …
Montlake Freeway Station, 8:45 AM:
A very large man in a (very red) Ohio State sweatshirt is standing in the shelter when we arrive. Bus Nerd, a (runner-slim) UM grad, defiantly unzips his jacket to reveal a Michigan fleece.
Bus Nerd, to me: “The battle lines are drawn.”
Guy 1: “Boys II Men was depressing.”
Guy 2: “Depressing how?”
Guy 1: “Depressing like, ‘I will never go to another R&B show unless my girl is there.’”
Saulty and Bus Chick, last Tuesday:
Saulty: “The election isn’t today is it?”
Bus Chick: “Nope–next week.”
Saulty: “Good. I thought I forgot to vote.”
Bus Chick: “Hey, speaking of … make sure you vote for Transit Now.”
Saulty: “What’s that, and why should I care?”
Bus Chick proceeds to explain all the reasons Saulty should vote yes on Proposition 2.
Saulty: “That sounds cool. I’ll vote for it, but only if you vote no on that strip club thing.”