Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You Know You Need a Peanut Right?

There were these two, old homeless guys on the bus all coghin' an hackin'. I saw one guy was having a coughing fit and the other hits the coughing guy on his shoulder, nudges him, handing him something - and at first I couldn't see what it was - The coughing guy pushes it away but the dude kept nudging him with whatever was in his hand insisting the coughing guy take it. Finally I could see and it was... cocktail peanuts - cause you know when you're coughing you need cocktail peanuts right? So it kept going; one guy coughing and the other guy offering peanuts, coughing guy refusing - cough - hack - peanut? - no - coughcough- peanut? - no - etc... until finally the coughing guy said,

"Naw man naw I don't have no teeth!"


"Well I mean I got like two - I only got like two teeth an so I can't eat peanuts"

The other guy laughed and finally put the can of peanuts down (only after he had offered them to someone else on the bus, who didn't want them either).

I thought that the logic here was awesome. ... Cause you know need peanuts when you're coughing. It's true that nothing goes down better when you're hacking up a lung - throat all nasty an' tore up - than a big, fat, salty peanut right?

Good times...

Stitch in a Hurry

I was headed for the bus on the corner of 20th and Burnside and I always miss it, as soon as I turn the corner I miss it, so I came tearing around the corner all fast and for once the bus wasn't there, but there was this really good looking guy standing there in a suit and briefcase and he looked just like Johnathan (you know who's my husband) and he had curly hair and a scarf, super big blue eyes, long pretty eyelashes and pale skin. After a minute or two he asked me what time it was.

"Stitch in a Hurry" which is the name of the sewing place at the bus stop has a bus schedule and a clock in the window (I guess because they were tired of people asking or something), so I just pointed to the clock. I could tell when he saw the clock he felt kind of dumb. I realized that I might have come off like kind of a bitch just pointing like that and so I made a joke about how I always ask what time it is when there's a clock right there. Awkward silence..... then he says,

"yeah I am going to a job interview and, but the last bus I got on I went to pay and I did that thing where I'm patting down my suit looking for my pass and then I remember 'oh yeah it's in my wallet' and so I went for my wallet and my wallet wasn't there."

"Oh no!"

"Yeah so I have this job interview and I gotta take the bus so I'm hoping they'll have mercy on me and let me go, because the last one didn't and made me get off."

"Well, I'll spot you if they don't let you on."

"No, no it's okay I'll bet they let me on. It's just embarrassing because I look like the guy in the suit trying to hustle his way onto the bus."

Right then I saw my bus was coming - I thought he was taking the 20 and asked, but he was taking the 19 - so I gave him $1.75 and told him just in case and that I hoped he gets the job. He looked so grateful and said 'Thank you' and then I got on the bus. - Portland, OR.

Smokin' Granpa

On the 5 heading from downtown towards the park: I get on at Van Ness and make my way to the back. It was a bright sunny day - middle of the afternoon - I could feel the breeze come in from the open windows and then I smelled something.... something like weed .... was someone smoking weed on the bus? I look up and see in the very back seat an older black man with white-as-snow hair and beard all fro'ed out, large 70's glasses, a cap with fire flames and (plain as day) a 1 inch thick golden pipe in his mouth. He clicked his lighter and went for another drag. Another man caught me witnessing this,

"Oh yeah! (chuckle chuckle) you smell it too. You want some? Me too. We should ask him (chuckle chuckle again)..."

This is someone's grandpa here on the back of the 5 smoking out in broad daylight. Awesome.

I laughed.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

On the Way to Work

Two days I ago, as I was running out to catch the bus in the morning.
I saw my neighbor and his girlfriend. I don't know him personally but
I know he lives down the street from me. I said hello to them since
they were walking by just as I was leaving the house...

I then remembered that I had forgotten some Netflix movies at home
that needed to be returned so I went back to get them. I didn't take
long, but it was long enough for them to walk around the corner. I was
running late so I was walking at a faster than normal pace. When I
turned around the corner I saw the guy by him self yelling "STOP!"...
"STOP" "WHY WON'T YOU STOP!" really loud. I slowed down... I really
didn't want to catch up to them. But the mailbox was on the same side
of the street. I continued walking until I dropped the movies off. He
was still in front of me.

I noticed that the girl had crossed the street and was now waiting at
the bus stop. He kept yelling "Why would you do this to me?". I really
didn't want to deal with those two so I decided to keep walking. But
just as I got closer he crossed the street to her rather abrupt,
headed straight to her and pushed her up against the wall. He
continued to push her until she fell to the ground. I remember
thinking oh man why now. There was lots of yelling back and fourth
mostly from him. There was lots of pushing too. I think at some point
she started throwing punches at him too. They were so loud that people
came out to see what was going on. One guy was on the phone calling
the police. Another woman stopped her car and did the same. I didn't
really know what to do. I wanted to keep going and ignore the thing
but I couldn't bring myself to it. So what did I do? I went back.... I
went back to try and talk some sense into them. I mean I've seen the
guy around my block... He can't be more than a 18 or 19. And I knew
that the last thing either one of those two wanted was to have the
police involved. However he was much bigger than her and I for sure
didn't want him beating her up.

I got close enough to them to talk to them. But I wasn't able to say
much. He immediately started verbally attaching me and making threats
to me as well. I noticed that she must have hit him rather hard as he
was dripping blood from his head. "Mind Your Own Fucking Business" he
said. All I wanted to do was warn them that the Police was coming and
they best be their way. I walked back away from them still keeping an
eye to make sure nothing serious started. The man on the phone with
the police said to me "Don't worry about them. The police is on their
way. I'll make sure nothing happens and that she is safe"

I felt a lot better after talking to him. I wasn't able to stick
around much longer as I was already late to work, and my bus had
arrived. I am very proud of myself for not walking away tho. It sure
got me thinking about my experience with the bullies beating up the
nerd. I do still I had not walked away then and I had helped him, I
think I'm slowly outgrowing my fear of conflict. I do hope those two
find a way to work things out within their selves. Violence is never
the answer but sometimes it is the only way we know how to deal with
the situation. I keep thinking about how I will deal with the
situation next time I run into him. Part of me wants to just keep
walking but the other wants to let him know that I can be a friend if
he or she need someone to talk to. - Anonymous - SF, CA.

Anything But my ipod

Relaying this story from memory:

Woman - 30 something - kickboxer - lawyer - lives in SF - takes the bus to work everyday.

One morning while waiting for the bus a large man sat next to her.... pause... he turned, pulled a knife on her and told her to hand over her wallet. Scared, she fumbled around and tossed it to him. Then he asked her for the ipod she had on her. Scared again she started to take her ipod off - then in that moment she snapped - no... not my ipod - anything but my ipod - She stopped "What are you doing?" She said to him, "What would your mother think if she knew you were doing this?"

Something in what she said triggered the man. Right there he fell apart, put the knife down and started weeping. He gave her the wallet back and asked her for a hug.

"no way you just tried to rob me! Go home!"

Strange Man

My grandmother got on the bus and (this was in Guatemala too) at the next stop this man wearing a suit and hat got onto the bus and sat down. He had blood on his forehead. Someone inquired, "are you okay?" He said he was fine. There was a strange air about this man. More people saw the blood and asked him if he was okay... "yes" he continued. But people became concerned as the blood seemed to thicken. Soon everybody started questioning him,

"Are you okay?"
"You okay?"
"Do you want to stop to take care of your head?"
"Do you need some medical attention?"
"Do you need to get to a hospital?"
"you need a doctor"

This, back-and-forth went on for a while. The man was avoiding everybody, then started reacting violently to everyone's concern. One person finally had it, got up and took the hat off the strange man's head to see what was wrong with him. There - on his head - was a severed ear with earrings in it! ! !


So this you have not heard... So when I was about 9 ... well ... let's go back ... my grandfather... he was a very sweet man ... very liked, everybody liked everything about him, except he had a problem. He was an alcoholic and um you know everybody kind of knew about that. And he also uh, he had a child with this other woman/lover/not my grandmother.

One night my grandfather got in a fight with the other woman - his lover. She got upset and took the child to the other town over. They had both been drinking. He was also very upset, and so caught a bus to the next town to go after her. (this is in Guatemala by the way).

So he's on the bus, drunk, 1/2 way to the town and the bus got hijacked. The hijackers started taking peoples' money. One of them attacked a women. My grandfather recognized the hijackers. He stood up to them, punched the guy who was attacking the woman, then said, "I know you guys you are from my same town. why are you doing this? These people are also from your town."

People there said my grandfather was the only one who stood up to the guys.

The hijackers took him out of the bus and shot him 3 times. I was 9 years old. I remember that night I dreamt about my grandfather. The next day they told me that he had died.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Two Things

This was my voicemail today -

"Hi Lauren it's me. Two things:

A big seventies pimp got on the bus today. he had on a purple suit with a big fur coat and a red fedora. I've seen him before but today he was all cracked out and smelled real bad...

Um also...

What makes fat, disgusting, old men talk shit to me like, "your hot" and stuff like that. What am I gonna do with that Lauren? What am I gonna do?" - Heather - Portland, OR.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


"So I'm really ashamed --- but --- I --- grew up in LA without a car. I grew up on the RATD - the rapid transit bus of LA, from age infancy to 18 and I was so traumatized by the horror and the infrequency and the un-dependability of ever getting anywhere in less than two hours in LA that I bought a car. I couldn't do it. ... I bought a car when I was 16 and I have never gone without a car since. I just can't handle it... I do the bus when I have to ... " - Jana - SF, CA.