Sitting along the center side-facing seats of my outbound bus today were a few Asian teenage boys. I couldn’t make out much of what they were saying, but I swore that I heard in the same sentence of a largely-English conversation (spoken poorly and with thick accent), “Hong Kong Phooey” and “morphine” — each word more than once, and always together! At this moment in my journey, I thought back to that Lewis Black joke about “If it wasn’t for my horse, I would have never finished that year in college” and the words obliquely given to me by these chatty lads were likewise jammed in my head, devoid of context, and driving me nuts! All I could do was run it through my brain in hopeless deconstruction mode: “What the hell does a ’70s Saturday morning cartoon superhero dog have to do with narcotics? Is this what the kids call morphine now? And who the hell does morphine anymore?” Thanks to semi-literated Asian teens, Hanna-Barbera and an opium derivative for today’s “What The Heck?” moment… though, I don’t think this plot will end up on TV Land.
Usually when I’m on the bus, I can typically locate The Starer right away. That is, every Burlington city bus ride I’m on with more than a few people means that someone is staring at me… a lot. To drag “science” into this: the law of averages states that you put enough people on a CCTA bus that I’m also on and one person is likely to figure out my not-so-secret identity. It’s a scientific fact, Jack. But, I’m not bothered by it at all, and I even expect it at this point in our 40K pop. town, especially in public. The fact that I notice is mostly because it’s way too obvious. Of course, there is also the uncommon but not too rare occurrence when one or more people notice The Starer staring at me. Believe me, fair citizens… when others around you notice you are staring at someone and start discussing it with each other, you’re probably staring too much. Still, when does that ever stop folks? So if you (the reader) and I are locally chummy and we’re on a bus ride together, try to spot The Starer on your own, just for laughs. Think “Where’s Waldo?” without the challenge.
Occasionally, I’ll bus to meet with one of my clients at the same time for days on end. And it’s during these intermittent patterns that I start spotting the regulars on a given route’s run. A recent regular is this slightly chubby young man who also happens to have Down’s Syndrome. Funny thing about tards (besides them actually being tards) is that I think they’re starting to socially evolve. I mean, it only seems a couple decades back when tards looked like tards — that is, they all tended to dress uniformly in bad outdated clothing (and definitely NOT for some hipster-retro plea for attention), “Roman” haircuts, and definitely no facial hair. This guy actually had a beard and was wearing some fairly Vermont-esque winter wear a la hippie/ski dude. Even his hairdo was fairly recent. So, I’m thinking that I might have previously missed something and that this is tard evolution. (I’d be the first to admit that I don’t exactly have my thumb on the pulse of the mentally challenged in modern times.) I’m not sure how I even feel about this. At least, he had a Scooby Doo backpack on, which brought him a few steps back to the comfortably traditional tard level. Still, I don’t know. What happens if they figure out that the world laughs at them, co-opt into the system somehow as revenge, and take over the planet! Sure, you can say that it’s just a beard here and a hipster haircut there, but just like Aibo could lead to SkyNet, this whole trend could empower them to consider full tard revolution. So, if you see one on the bus, smile politely and don’t stare.
And, lastly, I really hate not being able to see clearly out the bus window (especially in winter) because there is one of those full-bus advertisement murals obscuring the outside of all the windows. Is that a bum or a bench? A mailman or a mailbox? And what the hell is that cart on Church Street selling, anyway? I just want to see out the freaking window, CCTA! Is that so much to ask in light of your occasionally bad drivers, often late buses, GREEN interior lights (and who at CCTA thought these were a good idea?) and now a city-enforced smoking BAN at the main (outdoor!) bus stop? Was the last of these a means of getting rid of the Middle Eastern looking homeless(?)/ chain smoking/ mentally disturbed guy who paced the bus stop hundreds of times a day, every day, smoking pack after pack, for no discernible reason? Did he creep the tourists out THAT much that it required a city ordinance? I wish it was really that. If so, let’s take it to its logical conclusion and do something about the belligerent wacko on crutches who randomly screams at people downtown. Through all of these years, hasn’t this curmudgeon merited a “No Yelling On Church Street” ordinance or something? You know… for the tourists, who, by and large, matter more than Burlingtonians — as is often evidenced. Oh, as if I’m saying something no one in this town knows.
So, when on the bus these days, and having no luck with the whole window debacle (and it IS a debacle at this point), I’m forced to turn my attention to the other passengers and then make complete sport of them on my blog. Hey, I paid my $1.25 and I want some entertainment, damnit. I’m completely entitled to some Schadenfreude while using public transit. That, and it’s a pretty long ride sometimes.