I spend too much time taking public transit. I waste a good percentage of my life people watching. I figure between 6-9% of my days are devoted to this based on commute time divided by hours that I’m awake. This may be a recurring theme in my blog. Anybody that wants to write and is stuck for ideas needs to live in a big city and spend time on the bus or train. Everybody has a story, and you can either be a friendly dude and ask people for it, or you can quietly make up their story based on physical appearance, mannerisms and other evidence. I get a big kick out of speculating what a complete stranger might be spending the rest of their day doing, and what else might be going on in their lives outside of this bus ride. That’s only when I’m bored! Sometimes the things that are happening on my commute are so interesting, that I don’t even have time for these games.
The other day I saw the worst toupee I have ever seen in my entire life. I can’t even call it the worst, because I’m always strangely happy to see a bad toupee, so I will call it the best toupee I’ve ever seen. It was black, and it took up 90% of this guy’s head. Let’s just call it a wig. The problem was, you could see his white hair above his neck where the wig didn’t quite cover. Just a racing stripe of white hair at the bottom, enough so it blew his cover, and there’s no way the rest of it could pass for real hair. That was bad enough on its own, but this wig was not unlike what 70’s Elvis Presley’s hair looked like. Then I got a better look at him, and I saw that his glasses were not unlike something Elvis may have worn around that time too. I told someone this, and they said that maybe he was dressed up for some kind of festival or something, but that’s the thing…. he wasn’t. From the neck down he looked like any other guy in his 60’s. I would say if anything, his lack of flair for wardrobe combined with his Elvis theme from the neck up (mouth up really, because of the white stripe of real hair at the back) was startling. I promise, this was not some special outfit. This is how this guy looks and perceives himself. I’m positive this man looked at himself in the mirror that morning, put that wig on and thought he was the King!! He would have fit into my ‘Time Warp’ blog nicely a few months ago. It’s funny what vanity will have you do. Also ironic that the bad wig makes him look way more ridiculous than whatever he was trying to cover up with it.
Sometimes the subway train will stop for whatever reason. For a long time. I always think it’s a ‘jumper’, but I think there are various reasons including electrical problems, and construction that a train could get delayed. That doesn’t make it any less annoying when it happens, combined with being underground and having no cell phone reception to call work and let them know. If you’re like me, and you time your work commute so you arrive there 30 seconds before you start, then there’s not a huge margin for error. I could work at fixing myself, but instead I think I’ll complain about the transit system. I understand that these things happen, but my main annoyance is the announcements they make. They mumble! There’s absolutely no human being on earth or Krypton for that matter who can decipher these messages. They’re important too, but all you see is a train full of people with that wincing ‘I can’t hear’ face. If it isn’t the mumbling messenger, it’s the crappy speakers that can’t seem to handle the most basic function of capturing the human voice. Now here’s the conspiracy theory. I truly believe that they do it on purpose, and here’s why……. They are obligated to make an announcement, or else the paying customers which are trapped on this vessel in the middle of an underground tunnel will freak out. The problem is that sometimes if people knew the truth (there’s a fire… somebody’s dead…), they would freak out even more. So what do you do?? You install crappy speakers and teach your employees to mumble important announcements. I can just see them doing it on orientation day. ‘OK, now everyone grab a partner and practice sending important messages that nobody could ever possible receive’.
On Saturday I was trying to get home from work, and quickly because I had an out-of-town wedding reception to attend. I ran to the bus stop after work, and got there about 10 seconds ahead of the bus. There were 2 other people already at the bus stop. The bus driver did not pull over, but continued up the road. We all looked at each other like ‘did that just happen?’ There was no ‘Out of Service’ sign up. He just forgot to pull over. Here’s the thing though. There was a lot of traffic on the street, and he had to stop a little further up before the intersection. So we ran up to the bus, and started tapping on the door so he would let us on. This guy has the nerve to point out the bus stop up the street, and we were quick to point out that he hadn’t picked us up at the last one. He started arguing with us through the door (so I couldn’t hear him that well), and tried to say there was nobody there. Up until now I had been letting some girl handle the argument on our behalf, but then I kind of lost it, and pounded on the glass, and yelled a bit. I’m not proud of it, but the guy was pissing me off. Then he started yelling through the glass asking if I was going to cause him problems. I responded by telling him that I wouldn’t as long as he opened the door. Then this chick is like ‘I’m not causing problems, I don’t know him’ (referring to me). Thanks Chick!!! Perfect!! Throw me under the bus (not literally)!! So suddenly I’m Mr. Crazy??? Then this bus driver was saying ‘because I was thinking of pulling over but I don’t want any problems’. So I calmly walked over to the curb. He pulled over. We got on the bus, and I showed him my bus pass, neither of us making eye contact, and I went to my seat feeling like the ‘unreasonable one’. I didn’t wake up in the morning thinking I would intimidate a Bus Driver into taking me to the subway station. I always thought that if I stood patiently at a bus stop, that he would just pick me up and there’d be no drama. If he did his job properly, none of this would have happened, but that’s not really even why it happened. It’s because he, like 75% of people out there can’t admit he made a mistake. Why is that so hard for people? I wouldn’t have been mad if he just opened the door after he realized he screwed up, but why does he have to start telling stories (like nobody was standing there)? Just do your best, admit to your mistakes, and you will be forgiven. I’ll never understand why people have to go through life with this ‘perfect record’ of never being wrong, even if it means they have to make things up to support it. It’s dumb!