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An Awkward Group January 22, 2009

Posted by A. Robinson in Bus Songs.
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Last week I caught the 5:00 bus home, which is like, the HEIGHT of Crazy Time.  It had been a hard day at work, so all I really wanted to do was get to my truck and head home.  

I got to the bus depot on campus a little early, so I sat down and pulled out a newspaper.  A few of the “Red Bus Regulars” were also milling about.  There’s one elderly lady that I’ve noticed repeatedly because she just doesn’t seem to fit into the “Red Bus” demographic.  She’s shorter than me, so about 5’3″ or so, and really well-kept.  Obviously not a college student, she always dresses nicely and keeps to herself.  That’s not to say that you can’t ride the bus without being 1) a college student or 2) trashy, but…okay, well, maybe that’s usually how it works out.  

Anyway, this quiet little lady and I have had a few interactions.  The first time she was trying to get on the bus while I was getting off, and she was still a ways away.  She started running–mind you, this woman is like, 70, so it was more like quick, erratic hobbling–so I knocked on the door to the bus as it began to move and asked the driver to wait for her.  She was very soft spoken; not impolite per se, but definitely a little shy.  The second time she and I spoke, the bus had to turn around because of road work.  This kept her from getting to her stop, so she asked for the bus to drop her off about a half-mile from where she was headed.  As she was getting off, I offered for her to ride to where I was parked (at the mall, about 4 minutes away), and told her that I’d be more than willing to give her a ride if she’d like to wait.  She looked at me, a “deer in the headlights” look on her face, and promptly shuffled off the bus.  OKAY, LADY.  WHATEVER.  Then I watched her almost get hit by not one but two cars as she attempted to teeter through traffic.  

Come to think of it, maybe she does belong on the Red Bus.  Hmmm.

Anyway, I noticed that she was speaking to a young man in the terminal.  He was probably 23, fairly tall with a shaved head, heavily freckled.  I remember thinking what a bad look that was for him, but he seemed to be speaking with the elderly lady in a decent manner, so I let it go.  She seemed to be getting along quite well with her skinhead friend. 

Anyway, once we boarded the bus, those two (along with a few of his friends) sat right in front of me.  I tried to put my headphones on and relax, but the conversation up front was too loud to ignore.  

Skinhead:  (speaking to a young Hispanic man sitting across from him)  Hey Jose, where was you last night?  I needed you there with me to calm me down!

(Jose has a young wife and a child–I suspect the family is a result of an unexpected teen pregnancy.  I often wonder what they saw in each other, but one fact is undeniable:  their son is SO CUTE.)

Jose:  Man, I got a family.  I can’t be helping you like that no more. (Admirable reply, I think)

Skinhead:  Man, no really man, then I wouldn’t have done what I did if you was here with me.  Man, I punched a guy.  

At this point, I realized that Skinhead’s right hand, which was draped around The Elderly Lady’s shoulders, was bandaged.  

Jose:  Who’d you punch?

Skinhead:  Oscar (who I gathered from later conversation was a neighbor).

Jose:  Man, you can’t be doing that.  

Skinhead:  But he was trying to get into the apartment!  So, you know, I was drunk, so I told him to get the f*** out, but he didn’t!  (insert donkey-esque guffaw here).  So man, like, I punched him.  And I was so mad I couldn’t feel my hand, so then I punched the wall, and then I ran outside and punched through the newspaper stand.  

At this point my jaw drops.  Seriously?  You punched through a wall and a newspaper stand?  

Skinhead:  (continuing) Yeah, man, you know.  Then the cops came, but they didn’t arrest me!  Jose, you should have been there, man.  I needed you to hold me back!  You know, man, if someone was out to hurt you or your little one, I’d kill ’em.  I’d kill ’em dead.

I just bet you would.  My bus stop quickly approaches, so I arrange my things.  The conversation in front of me lapses into silence for a few minutes.  Then, to my surprise, Little Old Lady chimes in, as serious as she could be.  

Little Old Lady:  That’s right.  You go right ahead and kill him.

Uh huh.  Right.  She should totally be on the Red bus.