Ketchup and mustard art

Cranky Old Fart

Oct. 21, 2022

I got onto the bus and quickly flashed my Orca card to pay, but the guy behind me fumbled with his pass, and the driver said, "Don't worry about it, just sit down."

Same at the next stop, and at every stop. To an old married couple he said, "Skip the fare, I don't care, I'm running way late."

If he'd said that to me, it could've been a free ride, but no. Me being 'normal', paying my fare quick and heading to my seat like you're supposed to, it cost me $2.75.

When someone in a wheelchair gets onto the bus, the driver is supposed to anchor the wheelchair with some clamps. It's a safety procedure, because even if the wheelchair's brakes are set, if the driver stomps on the brakes, the wheelchair and the person in it will flop and topple.

On a ride a few days ago, a rider in a wheelchair refused the clamps. "I don't want to be bolted down," he said, so the driver shrugged and drove. For safety, this rider of course set his chair's brakes, and as we rode he held onto a strap high above him. Must hurt his shoulder after a while, but with the bus's ordinary acceleration and braking, his chair never slid. 

It might be illegal — the law is often an ass — but I'm glad the driver shrugged. It sucks to be in a wheelchair, and then waiting for the driver to bolt you down, and when you're ready to roll off the bus, waiting again for the driver to walk back and unbolt you?

Yeah, legal or not, I fully endorse that man's refusal. 

At the end of the line the driver pushes a button and a pre-recorded voice says something like, "This is the last stop. All passengers must deboard at this stop," so all the bums get off along with all the real passengers, the people actually going someplace. The end of the line for most routes is a transit center, so it can be a crazy place.

A billion bums ride buses because they have nowhere else to be. They aren't going anywhere, so they sit on the benches at the transit center, lean on the walls, make themselves comfortable. 

Well, once upon a time a long time ago, a station agent sat all day behind a glass window at the Burien Transit Center, to answer anyone's questions about which bus to take. Those windows have been closed for years, and this morning they were covered with ketchup and mustard graffiti, punctuated by stewed tomatoes dried to the glass, and several wrapped and uneaten caramel chews.

Tomato liquid, dried, had run down the glass to the concrete below, looking very much like blood. Might've fooled me, if not for the tomato chunks.

Maybe it was bums who did it, but more likely it was teenagers with an artistic bent. I'm not a fan of most modern art, but this was actually kinda beautiful.

For philosophical reasons I usually don't carry my cell phone, but this was one of the few times I've regretted that. Would've loved to save it as a photo, before the spray hose people make their nightly visit.

As I was admiring the art, a homeless guy semi-moonwalked toward me, and said, "Anything you can spare?"

I said, "Yeah, but give me just a minute," because I was still scribbling in my notepad about the tomato blood. Then I apologized for keeping him waiting, and handed him the usual five dollars. Scribbled a few more words, the ancestor of this paragraph, and when I looked up the bum was gone.

Hey, maybe that's a solution, for people who feel uncomfortable around vagrants. Hand 'em a few dollars and they're gone.

Out the window of the bus, I saw a Vulcan. I'd know those ears anywhere. Then came an elf, and a green-haired woman with antenna poking out from her boobs. Immediately, I rang the bell to get off the bus. You had me at antenna boobs. 

It was a Halloween block party, and for me an enjoyable stroll. Attendees included Captain America, a little girl Mad Hatter, a redheaded clown woman, a cardboard box robot, a man-sized tomato, a bear, a pirate, a pair of human M&Ms, a kid ballerina, two Frankensteins, Richard Simmons, and a blue-painted lady wearing blue. I don't know what lady blue was supposed to be, but I enjoyed the walk, it was free, and the bus comes every six minutes so it was hardly an interruption of my busy day doing nothing.

On a support post in a brand new bus shelter, this graffiti made me nod 'yes':

"I am tired of all you people who aren't what you are, all the things I gotta do but never would want to do, all the lies and liars, and that there's no way out. —EPD"

I don't know who you are, EPD, but I ♥ you.

America's Trumpiest court just declared an entire federal agency unconstitutional 

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French climate activists target store lights in Paris night raids 

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Cheating chess grandmaster sues over accusations of cheating 

One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time…

Climate change isn't 'coming', it's underway. It'll kill billions, and we're not doing squat about it.

All cops are bastards, or they know who the bastard cops are and do nothing about it, which is the same thing.

Republicans are the enemy of common sense, common decency, simple truth, and democracy.

10 ways Americans had fun during the Great Depression 

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Order of the Pug 

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Roland the Farter 

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Mystery links
"Like life itself, there's no knowing where you're going"


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The End

Silke Otto-Knapp
Eileen Ryan


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. Honestly, I often wish I had my phone with me when I walk the dogs. I often see a particularly fetching pumpkin in our pumpkin patch, or a snake in the grass, or something. I suggest bringing the phone, and only using it as a camera. Your family doesn't need to ever know, you can still say you don't have it on you.

    I miss living in the city, very very much. But I will say - seeing a literal bald goddamn eagle eating something on the road 30 feet away, then flapping its wings and roosting in a tree right in front of me, is damn fine. A few weeks ago, I drove the trash down to the end of the driveway. There were about 6 deer and a whole flock of wild turkeys just mingling in the road.

    This place has its charms. But I am still a city boy.

    1. > There were about 6 deer and a whole flock of wild turkeys just mingling in the road.

      Is it legal to shoot 'em and eat 'em?

      Sorry, not quite in keeping with the beautiful tone of your comment, but food is always the first thing I think of. Wish the bus service extended to the ruralist of rural areas, because one of the few things I miss about not driving is that I can't take a nice drive into the country.

      I carry my go-anywhere bag almost everywhere I go. It would be easy to plop the phone into it, if I remember...

  2. Yeah, and in fact, it's hunting season now. Gunshots ring out all fucking day. Caveats - the owner of the property on which we live has it posted "No Hunting," and I think (may be wrong) it's illegal to shoot on a public road. But yeah, if the deer wanders into an OK place, you can shoot it.

    1. Have you? I never have. Seems like so much work and mess. But I've recently switched to the four-meat omelet at the diner, and it's full of flavor. I'll bet fresh meat is to die for.

    2. Have I hunted? Bro, I think you probably know me better than that. I have touched a gun once, never fired one. I do, fully, understand where my meat comes from, but no, I have never hunted.

    3. I've never hunted either, and don't own a gun. If big edible animals were hanging out down the street though, I'd consider buying a gun and a big freezer. That wouldn't even be hunting, just... I dunno, finders keepers.

    4. Not interested in butchering a deer.


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