The first time anything crazy happened on the bus – crazier than usual in San Francisco, that is – was just after Wes moved to Orange County. My friend Sheila and I met Ashley and Dave for Dave’s birthday. We had a couple of drinks. Okay, probably more then a couple. We had started earlier at dinner so by the time 10pm rolled around I was ready to go home. Since it was so early and there were no taxis around and I happened to be carrying my bus pass, I decided to take the bus home. I called Wes from the bus stop and we talked through the entire ride.
When we got closer to my stop I moved closer to the door to make a quick exit so that I could get home and in bed faster. I’m still not sure of the sequence of events, but somehow as I was waking down the steps, I managed to get my foot turned around and caught in the door. I was rather calm about it and told Wes to hold on so I could yell to the bus driver, “My foot’s stuck. My foot’s stuck,” totally unsure of how to unstick my foot. Luckily there was a nice, and sober, couple who helped me turn my foot around and get me out of the door and off the bus.
The second time anything crazy happened with the bus was probably 6 months later. After having dinner with Sheila and borrowing books from her and her neighbors, I packed up and headed home. Again, no taxis in sight and a giant hill standing between me and my bed. So I decided to wait for the bus. At the bus stop an unlit bus was parked. I figured it was out of service and sat down to wait for the next one, not knowing how long it would be. A few minutes after sitting down the bus driver walked out of the convenient store with a bag of groceries. When he saw me he asked where I was going and when I told him he said that he was headed back to the yard but could get me within a couple of blocks. I looked at his bag of groceries and saw mostly pantry items. He looked like a nice enough guy and I wasn’t sure how long I would have to wait for another bus to come and that hill was really steep, so I said yes.
Shortly after that I moved to Orange County with Wes and stopped riding the bus and the crazy stories stopped. And then I moved to Hawaii and the traffic here is so awful that I started riding it again, and what happened to me yesterday on the bus definitely takes the cake on crazy bus stories.
The morning bus I take to work has been steadily getting more crowded thanks to the beginning of school. Yesterday was a standing room only sort of day for most of the ride. I managed to get one of the last seats before we made it to the freeway. It was on the back of the bus in the raised seating area. There are two steps to get to this area and when it’s crowded sometimes, not often, though, someone uses these steps as a seat. I was sitting in the seat next to the top of the step so when the young man sat down on the floor he was stationed next to my feet.
For the first few minutes he tried to get comfortable, first leaning back on his arms and then leaning forward on his keens. He twisted and turned and put a flannel shirt over his head to get a little more peace. He finally seemed to find the right position when I looked down and noticed that he seemed to be staring at my foot. I wasn’t too alarmed because I do have a lion tattooed on my right foot and I just assumed that he was trying to figure out what it was. By the time we got off the freeway he was staring rather intently at my foot, still trying to workout what it was. At one point I crossed my legs and he looked up at me in sort of a pleading way. I thought perhaps my foot was getting into his space so I uncrossed my legs and put my feet on the floor, at which point he again stared at my foot.
And then he grabbed my shoe and twisted my foot towards him. I didn’t want to make a scene so I helped him out and turned my foot so that he could finally see what it was. But apparently he still couldn’t get it so he grabbed my foot and put it in his lap while examining the tattoo. Still in a crowded bus with no other seats and very little standing room and sitting next to a rather large man who made it impossible to scoot over just a little, I let him continue examining my foot. He finally looked up at me and mouthed, “What is it?” I told him it was a lion and he seemed content with that answer. “Cool,” he mouthed as he put my foot down.
I immediately scooted my feet closer to me and as far to the left as I could get them to go, but he was still right there. Do you know how some kids have to touch things to work them out? That’s what this kid was doing. It was like he was still having trouble seeing the lion and he kept moving my skin around to look for it.
Finally, a woman behind him had to get off the bus so he had to drop my foot and stand up. He took the seat and my feet were thus left in peace for the rest of the bus ride. I think I need to get more aggressive and stop worrying about making a scene because I really do not like having my feet fondled by strangers, no matter how young and innocent they seem. At least I was wearing pants and flats.