Hippie in a puddle of blue

Riding a crowded bus across the bridge from Mercer Island into Seattle, several of us were standing, and one of us may have been stoned.

He was a hippie in a pink shirt, standing a few steps in front of me, the stale scent of marijuana all over him and his clothes and hair. He looked about fifty, a graying white guy with long hair in dreadlocks.

The old hippie was free-floating — his knees bent, his arms out like an umpire's 'safe' sign, between other standees. He was mimicking a skateboard ride, at freeway speed on the bus.

Which certainly looked like fun, but it's not a wise way to stand on a moving bus. We were tootling along in medium traffic on the interstate, but you never know when the driver might hit the brakes, so standees should hold a handrail, a dangling strap, or one of the floor-to-ceiling stanchions.

My inner nice guy felt compelled to say something, and it was gonna be, "Hey, bud, you ought to hold on to something," but I only got as far as, "Hey, bud."

The driver didn't 'slam' the brakes, only nudged them for a moment, then put his foot on the gas again. We went from 40 mph to 30, then 35 and 40 again, over the course of a few seconds, which is nothing if you're seated, or standing and holding on — a typo for someone texting on their phone, that's all.

For someone who'd been goofing around, though, riding hands-free like the Silver Surfer, it was a demonstration of the physics of bodies in motion.

On his way down the hippie hollered, "Ah, shit," and smashed his head against the stanchion he should've been holding on to. His knee made such a thud against the floor, I could feel it through my shoes, standing four feet away.

During his downward trajectory, he'd elbowed the lap of a middle-aged black man, who either retaliated or accidentally dropped a plastic cup on the hippie's backside. Blue liquid from the cup drenched him, and the man down was in a puddle of blue.

(Never had the blue soda myself — is it good?)

From the floor, the old hippie cussed at the driver, the man, the blue, the blood, and the universe. Struggling to his feet, he grabbed at a stanchion to hoist himself up, and said, "Oh, ick" to some blood he'd left on it. Once back on his feet, he began rubbing his knee, and poking at the gash in his forehead.

The driver had heard the ruckus and glanced in his rear-view mirror, and over the bus's public address system, he said, "Please hold on if you're standing." He wasn't being a smartass, much, but that lesson had either been learned a quarter-mile earlier, or it never would be.

There was nothing else to be done while we were on the freeway, so onward we rolled until the bus off-ramped and came to the first stoplight downtown. The driver clicked his PA on again, and asked, "You OK back there?"

The wounded man's pink shirt was wet with the blue, plus red drops of blood, and he'd been muttering that his knee hurt. To the driver, though, he hollered back, "Yeah, I'm OK." That's the universal man code — ask us, and we're always OK after an injury.

The light turned green, the driver took us into the intersection and turned the bus onto 4th Avenue. I held onto a strap as we rounded the corner, letting the centrifugal force sway me some, because that's fun. The hippie held a stanchion, tight



  1. Cap'n CrunchPocketsJuly 17, 2023 at 2:28 PM

    If the liquid was in a cup, and blue, it was probably some blue version of either Four Loko (beer-like booze) or MD 20/20 (Wine-like booze)

    1. Hadn't occurred to me it might be booze. Guess I thought it was blue assberry or something.

    2. It's the cup that makes me think alcohol of some sort. Coulda been blue Fanta or something.

    3. The cup has me wondering, too. Transparent plastic with plastic lid. I think you're right; nobody sells soda in cups like that. Guy must've been boozing on the bus, which is a nono.

    4. I'm sure you did your civic duty and performed a citizens arrest.

    5. I stand corrected. I apologize for flirting with you all this time.



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