Last winter I got a Los Angeles visit from Rocawear, and on one early evening we took the bus out to Santa Monica. We walked over to the pier, saw a fisherman catch an octopus and some albinos unraveling cotton candy, and then got back onto the bus to go home. When the bus was in Westwood, the bus driver, who had a high and hyperactive voice, addressed one of the women on the bus.
"I'm sorry ma'am but I'm going to have to ask you to not eat on the bus."
"Why?" she whined, extending the remaining half of a Snickers bar forward.
"Because those are the rules."
The woman was extremely hurt by this and made a cell phone call. "Yeah," she yelled into the phone. "Looks like I'm gonna be late, again. I'm going to miss my transfer - because I got the slowest damn bus driver in the fucking world! Every time I have him the bus is late. EVERY TIME."
After it was clear that she had ended her phone call, the bus driver addressed her complaint. "Ma'am, bus drivers are REQUIRED to show up late to the stops. We're not allowed to be early." His voice jumped an octave. "If we're on time, we're ahead of schedule!"
"I DON'T CARE! I DON'T CARE! I DON'T CARE!" It was getting ugly. The woman pulled the chord to request the next stop, at which point it became clear that her rage was based in being asked to hold off on eating candy for less than five minutes. "I MISSED MY TRANSFER I HOPE YOU KNOW."
"Next time take an earlier bus." The bus pulled over.
"YOU'RE A FUCKING ASSHOLE," she said as she descended the bus stairs.
"So's your face!" The door shut but it sounded like the woman was still yelling at him.
Rocawear and I moved from the middle of the bus to the open handicapped seats in the front so we could tell the bus driver that we had been on his team during the whole thing. He started pleasantly talking about himself and explained that his son is on the Cincinnati Bengals for the NFL.
"He always asks me, Dad, why you still drivin' the bus? And I tell him, it keeps me occupied. But they never win. That team can-not win."
When we got to West Hollywood, we wished the bus driver a good evening and good luck on everything.
Two weeks ago, after a night of working at the Smell, I waited on Broadway for the 4 Bus, which runs from Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica along Santa Monica Blvd. I leaned against a pole to read some of the last pages of the 33 1/3 book by John Darnielle about the Black Sabbath album, Master of Reality. The 4 Bus came and I stepped on.
"Remember last time I saw you," chirped the bus driver, "you said you were gonna give me a kiss. Do you remember that?"
"Oh," I said, rolling my eyes with a smile, "must have been my sister. She's always getting me into trouble."
I quickly sat in the handicapped seat and then immediately placed his voice.
"You were my bus driver!" I exclaimed. "You got in a fight with a woman because she was eating on the bus-"
"Like 6 months ago."
"No, I think she was white."
"People just don't understand. You can get roaches on a bus."
"Your son plays for the NFL, right?"
"Cincinnati. But they can't win. I'm going to fly out to Phoenix to see him play this week. You riding with me out to the beach tonight?"
"Nah, West Hollywood."
"What's that you're reading?"
"It's a book about Ozzy Osbourne. It's written by a musician I like, who doesn't play metal music. And it's written from the view of a 15 year old." I ommited the, "who's in a mental institution," for social reasons.
I told Terry about the coincidence, and Terry, who gambles heavily on sports, said, "That's kind of a sign. Guys who are superstitious about these things would think it was a sign."
Half a week later Terry said, "I put money on the Bengals twice and they lost both times."
Today when I walked in front of the TV and Terry said, "Cincinnati finally won," as though I hadn't forgotten about the whole thing. Very superstitious.
Kiiiii -- (The World According To) Carp And Sheep [Tide Is High cover]