A poor choice of words


leftovers & links
Sunday, April 9, 2023

Buses sometimes get bunched, which means one bus has been delayed by traffic for so long that the next bus on the route is right behind it, instead of however many minutes behind it's supposed to be.

From a passenger perspective, bunching is a frustration — if two #36s are one right after the other, it means the schedules are way out of whack, people are waiting too long all along the route.

About twenty different routes stop at my downtown bus stop, where I catch the #99 home at the end of the day. Often four or five different buses pull up at the same time, so the whole block becomes a bus stop, and you might have to jog past several buses all the way to the end of the block to get to yours.

I am not renowned for my jogging, so I just walk at my idea of a brisk pace, and wave at the driver, and the driver waits for the old fat guy to waddle to the door.

That's the background; here's the story.

One fine day,  a #36 pulled up at the front of the block, where the bus stop actually is, but the driver did not open the door to let anyone board.

A man with a briefcase knocked at the glass door, and the driver shouted something at him. Downtown is loud and bus doors aren't made for conversation, so I couldn't hear what the driver yelled, and neither could briefcase guy, but after a few rounds of shouting we made sense of it. "Get on the bus behind me," the driver was shouting.

And indeed, way down at the other end of the block there was another #36. Not my bus, not my business, but why make someone walk a block to catch to a #36, when a #36 was right in front of him? And the first #36 wasn't even 2/3 full. 

Briefcase man didn't ask, didn't argue, he just jogged most of the block to catch the second #36. While he was jogging, though, the light turned green, and the first #36 pulled away, followed by the three buses behind it. The second #36 slowly rolled right past briefcase man, all the way to the bus stop and sailed right through the light, by then yellow.

That man had missed two #36 buses at once, because the first driver had seen a way he could be an ass, and decided he'd be an ass. Some people are like that. They never waste an opportunity to make someone else miserable.

I've mentioned the commute hassles caused by all the people in Mariners hats riding the bus and driving their cars, clogging up traffic on game days. What I haven't mentioned, because at first I didn't notice, is that there are far fewer bums on the bus when the M's are playing at home.

On my normal post-work ride, there are a few bums on the #550 from the island, and several on the #99 that takes me home, but on baseball day there's maybe one or two bums on the entire commute. One baseball afternoon, on my entire ride home, both buses, there seemed to be no bums at all — no crazies, no droolers, no mumblers, no fentanylheads, no yellers, no stinkers, nobody on the bus except us plausibly normal people.

The economics of it puzzles me. Are the bums and drunks and crazies and petty criminals all drawn to the stadium instead? Is panhandling and pickpocketery so much more profitable with a baseball crowd than at the bus stop?

Seriously, where do the bums all go, on baseball days?

My morning bus on Friday, from home to downtown, beeped a lot. Every three seconds, a loud electronic beep sounded inside.

It was nothing, I'm sure — a minor malfunction of something inconsequential, but jeez, twenty beeps per minute, for the entire half-hour ride. Oy, I had a headache by the time I stepped off the bus downtown, to walk three blocks and wait for my connecting bus.

Which was late, of course. Not that it matters. The bus gets me to work early even when it's late, but it was drizzling and cold and I was really not my normal charming and chipper morning self.

Then when I stepped onto the bus and flashed my ORCA card, it didn't respond. A second time I flashed it, and again there was no beep of recognition. Gave it a third swipe, nothing happened, so I said, "Fuck you," to the fare box, and started walking to take a seat.

In hindsight, that was a poor choice of words. I should've said, "Fuck it," not "Fuck you." The driver thought I'd said "Fuck you" to him personally, and he hollered, "No, fucker, fuck you. Pay the fare or get the fuck off my bus."

Oh my, that had escalated so quickly that I hadn't even known it was escalating. "I was talking to the fare box," I said, meekly.

"Pay the fare or get off the bus," he said again. I waved the card in front of the box a fourth time, when my usual limit is three before I get all harrumphy and sit down. My harrumphiness had preceded me that morning, and again the box didn't recognize my card.

I glanced at my watch. The #550 to Millionaires' Island runs every ten minutes, with occasional #554s stopping there too, so I said, "Bye, fucker," turned around and got off the bus.

A #554 came in about three minutes, but replaying that scene in my mind, I'd been an idiot, don't you agree? I'm sure the driver agrees. Plus, he'll probably be driving the same bus tomorrow.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

With dueling rulings, abortion pill cases appear headed to the Supreme Court 

Republican Neanderthals own the Supreme Court, so this is a death sentence for women, and a life sentence for the unhappy children they'll be forced to breed.

Scientists discover that ancient humans were tripping balls in a cave 

"We may be looking at the end of capitalism": One of the world's oldest and largest investment banks warns "Greedflation" has gone too far 

Sadly, the headline is hyperbole. We are not looking at the end of capitalism, because capitalists will never allow that. They'll burn the world down first, and it's on the agenda.

Chipotle sues Sweetgreen for having its own "chipotle burrito bowl" 

Mehdi Hasan dismantles the entire foundation of "The Twitter Files" as Matt Taibbi stumbles to defend it 

Torrents of Antarctic meltwater are slowing the currents that drive our vital ocean "overturning" – and threaten its collapse

 • California's floods may be 'only a taste' of what's to come in a warmer world 

'Uncharted levels': Gases fueling climate change still rising at an alarming rate, NOAA says 

Juvenile detention staff who sexually victimized children face few legal sanctions, study says 

Video shows cops beat a naked black man to death with handcuffs as brass knuckles 

Kidnapped woman "found dead" after police shootout with captor 

Police respond to wrong house and kill innocent man there 

Ex-cop who shared cell with Jeffrey Epstein convicted of quadruple murder 

Facing accusation of raping an inmate, Maury Co. correctional officer remains on the job 

How reckless cops relying on questionable facial recognition tech can destroy lives 

Providence police captain receives one year's probation for assault on handcuffed man 

Police officer on paid leave after hitting child with patrol car, lying about it 

Only misdemeanors for drunken sheriff who drove police SUV 100mph with headlights off and rammed two vehicles

Republicans vote to expel anti-gun violence protester but keep their child molester & chair urinator 

Clarence Thomas's billionaire benefactor collects Hitler artifacts 

Justice Clarence Thomas says trips with billionaire didn’t need to be disclosed at the time 

Arkansas House wants you to show ID to use social media 

Montana Republicans want to legally define sex by reproductive capacity

Mystery links
There's no knowing where you're going






My browser history
without the porn

The tragedy of Attica
by Fred Gardner

The city that fell off a cliff 

♫♬  It don't mean a thing  ♫
if it don't have that swing

Call Me Maybe — Carly Rae Jepsen 

Don't Answer Me — Alan Parsons Project 

My Dad — Paul Westerberg 

Peace Train — Cat Stevens 

Tuesday Afternoon — The Moody Blues 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Edward 'Kidd' Jordan 

Harry Lorayne 

Bruce Petty 

Rachel Pollack 

Keith Reid


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 ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, CaptCreate's Log, Katameme, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, One Finger Medical, Two Finger Magical, Miss Miriam's Mirror, Nebulously Burnished, RanPrieur.com, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration. 

Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Joey Jo Jo, John the Basket, Dave S, Name Withheld, and always extra special thanks to my lovely late Stephanie, who gave me 21 years and proved that the world isn't always shitty.

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