Tag Archives: Overheard

Northbound 48, 8:45 AM

It is a rainy morning, and the articulated bus is packed with soggy people. Hot breath is fogging up the windows, and coats and umbrellas are dripping water on the already slippery floor. At John, there are at least eight more people waiting to get on.

Instead of shouting at folks to make room, the driver tries a different tactic. He gets on the mic, and in his most pleasant voice, says, “If you are standing on this bus, and you are good looking, move back. If you are standing on this bus and you are not good looking, stay where you are. If you are not sure, ask the person standing next to you.”

Folks immediately get to moving back. Told you bus riders are sexy.

Speaking of the 26…

From our second ride:

Twentysomething dude #1: “So, did you call Lisa?”
TD #2: “Yeah, I called her.”
TD #1: “She’s a cute girl, huh?”
TD #2: “She’s alright. She’s got some cute friends.”
TD #3: “So you’ll be calling again.”

Eastbound 4, 4 PM

A cell phone conversation:

“So by this time, I’m cussing the woman out, and she says, ‘Ma’am, I’d prefer you didn’t use that kind of language. Can we try to keep it professional?’ So I said, ‘Y’all are the ones who f-ed up my account. How professional is that?'”

Southbound 48, 8:40 PM

Some Husky fans are coming from drowning their sorrows (if you catch my drift) at various Montlake establishments, and the bus takes on the feel of a rowdy sports bar. A bus-wide discussion ensues. Most of the participants are (drunk) middle-aged men, but a few appear to be actual students. Two are sitting at the very front, holding court.

Husky fan 1, to everyone on the bus, especially his friend, “Drunk Terry,” who is sitting near the back door: “The first half was awesome. The second half was…Husky football!”

So that’s what the kids are wearing these days

This morning I awoke to a rather nasty nosebleed–the result, I am sure, of several days of head-cold-induced sneezing and blowing. It took some effort to stop it. Thanks to my piercing, the pinching method they taught us in elementary school isn’t quite as effective (or comfortable) as it once was.

This evening, on the 8, I sat near a boy in his early teens with a tampon (one of the non-applicator kind, of course) fitted snugly into his right nostril.

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Ecouter clandestinement

Because I am shy, nosy, and able to simultaneously process information from multiple sources, I am well-suited to one of my favorite bus-riding pastimes: eavesdropping. I am an expert eavesdropper. In fact, I am the Queen of Eavesdroppers. That is, as long as everyone I’m eavesdropping on is speaking English.

Despite my early plans to become a polyglot, the only foreign language I can speak well enough to claim (thanks to a few childhood years in Morocco and many years of study in the States) is French. Unfortunately, though I am able to carry on reasonable conversations, my French eavesdropping skills are pretty poor–so poor, in fact, that when I was in Paris last year, I was constantly frustrated by my inability to immerse myself in my fellow Metro riders’ business.

Metro station
The Luxembourg Metro/RER station in Paris, where I first failed at French eavesdropping

This morning, as luck would have it, I was presented with an unexpected chance to practice my international listening skills. Two men sitting across from me on the 545 were having a full-on French conversation, and (oh, happy bus ride!) I understood it. Funny how that language can make an otherwise uninteresting exchange about office moves and South Lake Union condo purchases sound so sophisticated and fabulous.

Oh yeah–while I was disembarking, I caught the beginning of a more typical 545 conversation:

Hipster-geek 1: “Hey man. How’s it goin’?”
Hipster geek 2: “Other than the fact that my web server crapped out compiling ASP this morning, life is good.”

Northbound 48, 8:40 AM

Middle-school boys, on…

Fashion:
Boy 1, to Boy 2: “Your pants are hella faded. Your mom wash those or something?”
Boy 2: “You’re supposed to wash ’em.”
Boy 3: “Yeah, but you have to turn ’em inside out.”
Boy 1: “Well, it looks like she used bleach. Tell you mom not to use bleach when she washes your sh*t.”

Education:
Boy 4 (an outsider), to Boy 1: “You go to Meany?”
Boy 1: “Yeah.”
Boy 4: “I think you were in 6th grade when I was in 8th.”
Boy 1: “I didn’t go to Meany in 6th grade. I went to Triple A, but I got suspended.”
Boy 4: “Where you going next year?”
Boy 1: “Franklin or The Beach, I guess. I already know: When I go to high school, I’m getting suspended.”

Sexual orientation:
Boy 4, to Boy 1: “You have Miss Mendoza this year?”
Boy 1: “Miss Mendoza went to Mexico.”
Boy 4: “For real?”
Boy 1: “I think she left because everybody found out she was a lesbian. She told the whole class and told us not to tell anybody, but we went around and told everybody.”

Punctuality:
Boy 2, to Boy 3: “What time does first period start?”
Boy 1: “Second period started seven minutes ago.”

Speaking of funny bus conversations…

Here are some I compiled for my August 9th Real Change column:

Monday evening, northbound 48:

A woman and man in the seats across from me are getting to know each other.

Woman: “Oh, my God, you’re funny.” [short pause] “Take me home with you.”
Man: “No.”
Woman: “You got a wife?”
Man: “No.”
Woman: “Then take me home with you.” [another short pause] “I’ll cut your hair.”

Tuesday evening, westbound 545:

A man and two women, probably coworkers, are making small talk on their commute home from work.

Woman A: “Where did you go to grad school again?”
Woman B: “At University of Oregon.”
Woman A: “Oh. Is that next to California, or am I missing a state?”

Wednesday, midday, westbound 10:

Two women get on at 15th and John, talking music.

Woman A, to Woman B: “I’ve got all kinds of stuff. I’ve got everything from Shania Twain to Kid ‘n Play. Gospel, hip-hop, every genre. The sad thing is, since I’m not going to have kids or anything, when I die, my music collection is just going to go in the trash.”

Thursday afternoon, eastbound 4

A group of teenagers is cutting up in the back. The bus reaches a crowded stop, where another group of teenagers is waiting to get on.

Girl in back: “Lord, my sister’s about to get on this bus.”
Boy in back: “Oh, that one with the backpack?”
Girl: “No, the one with the pajama-bottom-lookin’ pants and corner-store flip flops.”

Saturday, noon, northbound 36:

A man and a woman are sitting in the elevated seats behind me, apparently discussing family business.

Man: “I have to communicate all that stuff through Mom. I can tell her stuff to tell him, but if I say, ‘Hey Jason…,’ that’s breaking the no-contact order.”
Woman: “What no-contact order?”
Man: “For saying I was going to kill him, which I did. I said I was going to blow his f-ing head off for chasing me around the house with a machete.”

Saturday afternoon, southbound 16

A man and woman who are both sitting in the back are making conversation to pass the time.

Woman, to the man: “How did you tattoo yourself? Never mind — I don’t want to know.”