That's life on the bus.

July 25, 2022

A Hispanic woman got onto the bus, and she was pushing a stroller with a baby in it. The bus waited while she latched the stroller to a chain for safety's sake, and I noticed two things. First, she was kind of attractive, and second, she was wearing a t-shirt that had four rows of Calvin. The t-shirt said:


"Is your kid's name Calvin?" I asked her.

She said no, seemed confused, so I nodded at her t-shirt. "Oh," she said, "no — it's Calvin Klein."

And what the hell am I gonna say to that? 

A while back I wrote about what a treat it was when a bus driver refused to wait for people who weren't at the bus stop — the wavers and lollygaggers and people looking the other way. So here's the opposite story.

On the #131 bus, we were at a stop on First Avenue, and the light turned green, so the bus was ready to roll. Across the street, though, an old lady was waving at the bus driver. The light that had just turned green was also her signal to walk, so the driver waited for her. By the time she'd crossed the street and boarded the bus and paid her fare and taken her seat, the light was red again, so she'd cost us a full cycle. Two or three minutes.

I ain't mad at her, though. That's life on the bus.

What annoyed me like a grinch was, she turned out to be a talkity-talk-talker, so for the next two miles she told everyone on the bus about her job at the hospital, and about the bad, bad KFC she'd had for dinner last night, and the medicine she has to give to her dog by grinding up pills into his Alpo, on and on.

I came close to saying "Blah blah blah blah," which I have sometimes said to babbling idiots on the bus, but instead I said ohhhm to myself, and just stared out the window and wished we'd had that driver from last week. That driver would've simply rolled away when the light turned green, and that talkity-talk-talky old lady would've been on the next bus instead.

There's a bum who's always around when I'm at Mrs Rigby's Diner. Only one, and it's always the same bum, a very skinny black dude. Never any trouble. Sometimes he asks for spare change and my answer is always no, but he's OK about it. He comes into the restaurant sometimes, but he doesn't panhandle inside, just beelines to the john and then leaves.

One Saturday when I was inside, waiting to see if any family would arrive, through the front window I saw my mom and Katrina parking to join me for breakfast, and as my mom got out of the car the bum said something to her. When I asked, she told me he'd only said something nonsensical about the flip-flops she was wearing.

Your basic well-behaved homeless dude, right? Well, I went to the diner soon as the sun came up this morning, and that bum showed me a new side of himself. He was asleep on the sidewalk, not in front of the restaurant but a few doors down, in the door of a bodega that wasn't yet open. Snoozing like a painting he was, but with his pants down and his butt in the sunshine. Probably for warmth, but c'mon. Nobody wants to see a bum's bum before breakfast.

Waiting at a bus stop, I saw a most peculiar sight in a small strip mall's parking lot. Imagine this: A man walked the lot, carrying a deep bucket in one hand and a grabber in the other. He was picking up litter with the grabber, and depositing it into the bucket. When the bucket got full, he emptied it into a dumpster, then resumed picking up trash. My bus came and I got on, so I never saw the parking lot cleared of all litter, but let's assume for the sake of argument that this was accomplished.

Why is this such a rare event that I'd even notice it?

Litter is collected at bus stops, by cleaning crews that come by about once weekly, and at city parks, more often — perhaps even daily. Giant street-sweeping machinery runs along the city's main arterials early in the morning, some mornings. Along the sidewalks, though, along the freeways, and along the streets deemed too unimportant for street-sweepers, the trash remains forever.

There's a long stretch of Martin Luther King Way that's more a freeway off-ramp than an ordinary street, and I ride a bus along that way whenever I see my friend Leon. The litter all along both sides is forever, bags and bottles, cigarette boxes and diapers and junk mail, etc. I'd be curious to know how long the individual pieces of junk have been there, if it could be carbon-dated.

Disneyland is famous for having perpetual clean-up crews, so even a cigarette butt dropped on the pavement will be collected and trashed within minutes. I don't propose that, for all of Seattle, but every square inch of all the city's public land should be tidied on a regular basis. Maybe every second morning.

This would be expensive, of course — lots of people to be hired, lots of brooms and dustpans to be bought. So what. There's no valid argument against it, unless we're willing to live in a city of trash, so raise the taxes on the rich and hire clean-up crews.

And now, the news you need, whether you know it or not…  

Once our nation ran on slave labor. But since the end of the Civil War, the country has run on fossil fuels. 

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Church of Scientology seeks to quash rape complaints 

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California enacts gun law modeled after Texas abortion ban, setting up Supreme Court fight 

"While the Supreme Court rolls back reasonable gun safety measures, California continues adding new ways to protect the lives of our kids," Newsom said in a statement. "California will use every tool at its disposal to save lives, especially in the face of an increasingly extreme Supreme Court."

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I stand against the electrocution of elephants. 

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Princess Mononoke: The masterpiece that flummoxed the US 

"I had zero plans to do it," [writer Neil] Gaiman tells BBC Culture. "But the moment that changed everything for me was the scene where you're looking at this large pebble. And then a raindrop hits it. And then another raindrop hits it. And then another raindrop hits it. And now it's raining and the surface is slippery and wet. And I'm like, 'I have never seen anything like this. This is real filmmaking. This is David Lean-level filmmaking. This is Akira Kurosawa-level filmmaking. This is the real deal.'"

Huh. I have never seen Princess Mononoke, nor have I ever had the slightest inclination to see it. A frickin' cartoon from Japan? Nah.

Now, I think I gotta see it.

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Mystery solved: when mammals’ ancestors became warm-blooded 

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WHO declares monkeypox global emergency 

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Another round of hollow apologies from the Catholic Church 

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The audacious PR plot that seeded doubt about climate change 

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Jacob's Ladder 

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One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...
cops • copscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscopscops

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The End
William Hart
LQ Jones
Sean Kelly
Albert Vann

Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
Tip 'o the hat to Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S, Wynn Bruce, and always Stephanie...


  1. You have your reasons and your ways and your boundaries and probably know talkative old ladies better than i do but maybe that old lady was lonely and finally had someone to talk to or at or...PM

    1. Yeah, and she was coherent too. That's why I didn't razz her, but the bus was her captive audience and I felt more captured than captivated.


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