Monday, May 5, 2008

On the Bus with Jay and Silent Bob

I'm a strong advocate of public transportation. From This D*mn House to where I work, it's a convenient option. I can work, read, sleep -- whatever I want -- and not worry about traffic. And since my company now buys me a monthly pass, there's no good reason to not take advantage of it. Besides, a few blocks' walk at the beginning and end of the day sure doesn't hurt me any.

That's not to say that some of my fellow passengers don't occasionally make me rethink that option. On Friday's ride home, there was just such a duo. Let's call them Jay and Silent Bob because in all actuality, there was a resemblance, minus the silent part. Silent Bob was on crutches, seriously favoring his left leg. Jay, who also had a beard, had a leather jacket and backwards ballcap on. Bob, meanwhile, had a sweatshirt emblazoned with NEW YORK on. Its sleeves had been severed at the shoulders, exposing the dingy white sleeves of the T-shirt he wore underneath.

Neither Bob nor Jay had bathed in a while. In addition to body odor, they were filled with the scent of cigarette smoke and wrapped in an aura of stale alcohol. And when I say aura, it really was such a repugnant and overpowering smell, you almost could see it. Both of them were clearly drunk. The beauty of the scene that was unfolding before me was that I heard very little of the exchange between Bob and Jay, Bob and the bus driver, and Bob and a young black girl who made the mistake of sitting directly across from him. The iPod is a truly beautiful thing.

Because we had five minutes before departure from the station, Bob decided to take a smoke break. He almost lost his balance, but finally made it up onto the crutches and off the bus. Both he and Jay ignored the driver several times when she said we were leaving. When she closed the door, they appeared to get the message an,d both clambered toward the bus, Jay taking a few awkward steps, the last of which nearly toppled Bob. They corrected themselves, almost in unison, in a quasi-coreographed maneuver that defies modern physics before slowly getting back on the bus.

Bob was animated and chattering non-stop. The bus driver was clearly disgusted, so Bob turned his attention to the young girl. I saw her nod politely, and mumble a few short phrases. She finally switched seats. Mercifully, I never heard any of their discussion.

When Bob pulled the cord to call a stop, it wasn't until he wobbily stood up and started this series of dance-like maneuvers, that I realized he had no left leg. He was trying to work his lower thigh back into some kind of prosthesis. Jay was clearly annoyed waiting for him and because the iPod was in between songs, I very clearly heard Bob say: "Dude, if you don’t quit lookin' at me, I'm gonna take this thing off and hit you with it."

Now that might have been worth seeing...