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So I get on the bus, see? I’m late for work, which seems to be a common condition these days, like I’m trying hard to make it so that late is my normal time so that I’ll no longer be late.  But that’s a fool’s errand with no end in site.

And I’m on the bus, and the front of the bus is full, but there’s room at the back, right? Which is, you know, a sign, but I wasn’t reading the signs that day.

And I sit down on the bench seat facing the right side of the bus. There’s two long bench seats facing each other, and a wide seat at the back. For cool kids.

And I’m sitting across from this guy who could be in the credits of a movie as “Homeless Vet”, only you’d remember him from the film as that mumbling drunk guy from the bus scene.  Anyway, I’ll call him Smelly Drunk, because I don’t know for sure that he was homeless or a vet, and I like to be accurate, and I know he was smelly, and I know he was drunk.

And he was mumbling. And mumbling. sometimes loud, sometimes grumpy, sometimes pausing.  Never stopping. People were trying hard not to look at him, which was hard, because snatches of sentences would catch your attention.

Beside me sat an asshole in a blue windbreaker. And beside him sat an agitated asshole in a grey sweatshirt with meaty big hands. And he told the Drunkie to stop mumbling.  And then he yelled at Drunkie to shut up, no one wanted to listen to that.  And then Sweatshirt told Drunkie to stop talking S—-.

Drunkie, who until this point may have been annoying but wasn’t angry or even talking to any particular person, called Sweatshirt a nasty word that starts with C. It’s not for cookie.

At which point, Sweatshirt really got mad, and challenged Drunkie to a fight, and told him to get off the bus and get his ass kicked, and other things, and then he stood up, and took a step forward and punched Drunkie in the left eye and the side of the head as hard as he could. This wasn’t a light punch.  This was a hard, strong punch that immediately called to mind the times my mom used to pound veal cutlets thin on a wooden cutting board with a corrugated mallet.

Drunkie was stunned silent, and so were the people around him.  Then I said “Hey, heyhey now” and leaned forward and though I might put a hand out between them.  I was planning to follow this up with a stern “No need for that,” or perhaps even my patented “Leave him alone!” but the asshole next to me turned and told me to butt out, and he was scary. Suddenly I was outnumbered by 100% and I am good at math and I know what 100% means when it comes to getting beat up by two people so I stayed put.

Sweatshirt, who I now at this point started referring to as Puncher, turned and got off the bus, continuing to challenge Drunkie to get off and fight as he left.  Drunkie, who was seriously out of it, was not SO out of it to think this was in any way a good idea, and the bus drove away from Puncher, and he leaves the story now.

Drunkie was quiet for a stop or so.  Occasionally cursing softly and dabbing at his eye, which may or may not have been bleeding a bit.

Blue Windbreaker took up the cause of trying to get Drunkie to stop mumbling, while people on the bus sat around in silence, and a brand new batch of bus riders, who had filled the bus at the same stop Puncher got off at, sat down in and amongst this stunned scene with no idea what had just happened or why there was this odd tension in the air.

Drunkie shook it off and then started mumblexplaining how he would have gotten off the bus and killed Puncher, but he didn’t want to go to jail for six months, and that he knew something about something and besides, he didn’t give a S—- and he was fine, and Blue Windbreaker should F—- off.

At which point someone on the cool kids bench spoke up to chastise Drunkie that there were kids on the bus—and in fact, there were two, in the front, but I doubt they could hear Drunkie that well, and besides, I think kids should learn the appropriate words to use use after getting punched in the eye by an asshole, and Drunkie was using the right words. I have no idea why they weren’t supporting Drunkie, who was pretty clearly the aggrieved party here, but whatever.

Then it was my stop and I got off the bus and headed into work.

And you know what?

That incident made my day. I had a smile on my face for the rest of the morning. I mean, I feel really bad for Drunkie, and I’m not happy there’s a guy like Puncher in the world who didn’t get justice. But I thought: I had a job to go to, there are people who love me, and I can drink when I want and stop when I want. The weather was good and I was in fine health and no one had just punched me for no reason in the side of the head.

And if that’s not a good enough reason to be happy about my day, then I’m just being a selfish jerk.  Because it’s better than some people’s get, and I forget that sometimes.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

Comments

 

 

 

 

 

I'm confused. Which one was Brad Pitt...?

Great story, Trav!

 

Posted by Jason
  at 5:13 am on Jun. 21, 2012

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