Sunday, July 05, 2015

BUS STORY # 452 (Mad Men)

Mad Men The End of an Era Bus AD mini Billboard 9148,” © All Rights Reserved, by Brecht Bug.  Posted with permission.

Somewhere between Wyoming and Eubank, a guy boards the bus, swipes his card, and walks toward the back. The electronic fare box voice announces “Card not valid.” He keeps walking.

“Sir. Sir!”

The guy stops.

“Your card is expired.”

He walks back up to the front and starts searching his pockets. He’s early 30s, old jeans, red T-shirt, baseball cap. He quits searching just before we get to Eubank and just stands there. The driver pulls up to the stop and opens the door.

The guy wheels around and launches a stream of obscenity-laced insults at the driver. It is a violent outburst, and becomes more so as the tirade continues. The driver probably doesn’t help; he smiles cheerfully at the guy and invites him to have a good day. Gasoline on fire.

The guy fakes blitz at the driver. The driver invites him to go ahead. The guy’s explosive oral incontinence continues. There is no imagination, no creativity in the obscenities at all, just a witless brown spew of the same old same old. Then he storms off the bus.


I look at the young woman sitting next to me, the same young woman who got on the bus at Louisiana with me. She is staring wide-eyed and straight ahead, silently mouthing words to herself. I wonder if she’s praying or has just been shocked into some kind of schizophrenic state.

The guy sitting on her other side is talking with the driver.

“Crazy, huh?”

The driver is chuckling.

“And he was calling me a ________.”

I’m wondering what the driver would have done had the rider’s assault turned physical. He’s also in his thirties, and a big guy. But I’m thinking madness and rage often generate a superhuman strength. The driver might have gotten himself in real trouble.

So, pray tell, what would Busboy the driver have done?

The truth is, I don’t know. I would like to think I would have been able to balance the fight or flight reflex with the awareness that I would be no match at all for this guy. There would be no fight, only a pounding, possibly into a pulp.

I would like to think I would have the grace and sense to know this rider is deeply disturbed, and find some way to compassionately defuse the situation, although whatever that compassionate strategy might be alludes me.

Instead, I’m dealing with a momentary fantasy of coming to the driver’s aid and throwing the guy off the bus. Fantasy indeed! Once I’m aware of this absurd little day dream, I'm trying to recall where I recently heard or read a woman saying something very close to “It’s not your fault. You’re a guy. All you guys are jerks.”

She might just as well have said “mad.” That, I understand, includes Busboy, old as he is, and still struggling for reason and wisdom before push comes to shove.


The photo at the top of this story is titled “Mad Men The End of an Era Bus AD mini Billboard 9148,” © all rights reserved, and is posted with the permission of Brecht Bug. You can see Brecht Bug's photostream on Flickr here.


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