I walked to campus without a jacket, and got caught in the cold front.
I was a little slow to move when it was time to go home, I needed to resist the urge to take an afternoon nap, I needed to finish "Pride and Prejudice" and start my paper on it, and pick up cat litter and groceries for myself, and stay awake, and keep working, and keep working.
It was forty degrees and cloudy. I stepped on the Uni Place bus at a quarter to four knowing that it would eventually head eastish. We were caught in the normal crawl along R from Greek row to the Lied when the car in front of us stopped suddenly, forcing the bus the to do the same. We all jerked forward in our seats, the sound of every heavy-duty break in a 5-ton machine to an instant stop was similar to the crunch of a collision.
The teenagers in the back, white and black, from T-Town or Clinton judging by their dress and manner:
"Holy shit, holy shit did you see that."
"He fucking hit him dude"
"Oh fuck, I thought that was it."
50ish woman behind me; plastic sequined dress, face consisting of makeup, teeth, makeup, and something resembling eyesockets behind the makeup.
"Jesus Christ, shut the fuck up!!"
A white girl in a Walmart-tee from the back suddenly stood up and spoke to the driver
"Why don't you watch where your fucking going you piece of shit?"
Well he was watching where the fuck he was going, little.... miss, let's see you try to stop a bus on a dime, you mouthy little.... girl.
Jes--sus! Shut the fuck up!!!
The kids in the back began chattering, and they were not going to stop, they were excited at being excited, still young enough to be giddy at the fact that their words and emotions have influence over those of others. They're not going to shut the fuck up for at least five years.
"Shit dude, that was like Final Destination right there!"
"Did you see that shit, that was like Final Destination"
"Dude that shit was like Final Destination!"
Yes, nearly hitting a vehicle not one tenth the size of ours at five miles an hour is the ultimate near-death experience.
(On a side-note, I must say that I agree with the sentiment that the mere mention of "Final Destination" is unceasingly funny. I now understand the true genius of "The Family Guy" and now intend to make my living as a stand-up comic. My act will consist of reading off a list of films released in the past twenty years for two hours.)
The centrality of the illusion of control in America. True, a large reason why *normal people (* The minority with a stable source of food, transportation, and medical care) don't ride the bus is because of "those people," I have my class biases the same as anyone else does, but as much as I do go on, the fact is that "those people" are actually quite a bit less irritating than the typical *normal person.
But never mind, those people are mainly just an excuse. The real reason we don't ride the bus is that we feel safer in little clown cars or big manly-looking SUV's with the balance of broken teter-totters that we PERSONALLY CONTROL than we do riding in buses that could survive a small bombing that are driven by someone else. This illusion of control extends even to the lower classes, to people who are supposedly used to not having control. A fourteen year old girl got to yell at an all grown up city employee, and of course she liked it.
At the 11th and N shop a woman got on who worked at McDonald's and lived with her mother, and her siblings, younger and older, and her aunts and her first and second cousins.
There are cultures in which where even the poor and uneducated have means of emphasizing the importance of some particular point besides shear volume. Ours is not one of them.
"JESUS CHRIST, IT IS NOTHING BUT DRAMA AT MY HOUSE."
"MY MOM"S SICKMY AUNT WHO USUALLY HANDLES THIS SHIT IS OUT OF TOWN. JULIE JUST BROKE UP WITH HER BOYFRIEND. MY BROTHER HAS ALL HIS WANNABE GIRLFRIENDS CALLING. AND WHO DO YOU THINK HAS TO HANDLE IT.
I'll spare you her stories about how rigorously the hand-washing policy at McDonald's is enforced. In all honesty though, if you actually eat at McDonald's than a little Salmonella or anything else that will make you lose a quick ten pounds can't help but be good for you.
I stepped off at 25th and P. I had learned nothing I hadn't known. Just some more damned noise is all.