Friday, June 27, 2014

Hell hath no fury...

...like someone who just stayed 2 hours late for work on a Friday, afterward hoping for nothing more than a less-crowded (and thus slightly more pleasant) bus-ride home.

The #3 Austin bus down Burnet SUCKS. Other bus routes are mainly fine, but on the #3, something shitty happens maybe 50% of the time. That percentage is way too great. (I think 10% is within the realm of reason.) This afternoon, after being at work for 10 hours, I just wasn't in the mood for it. A couple of stops after me, one of the usual plethora of fucked-up homeless people got on. I can handle the smells, I can handle the tilting over, I can handle the muttering to themselves... And I have usually been able to handle when they're loud and obnoxious. But maybe the conversation I had a few days ago with the young guy on the bus asking me why I didn't report the obnoxious guy pestering me was still fresh in my mind...

This 40-ish white guy today gets on, sits a few rows behind me at the very back of the bus, right next to a group of 3 foreign students, two guys and a girl, who had been busy chatting amongst themselves. At first, he starts loudly bellowing lyrics from some song (I have no idea which, but the lyrics involved being "MAD" and "BAD.") And then he turns his attention to the kids: "Am I BOTHERING you?" (They hadn't stopped their own conversation to pay any attention to him whatsoever.) When they don't respond to his "bothering" queries, he starts loudly asking them for $20. Since they must think he smells, they should give him $20 so he can go to CVS to buy some socks. Just give him $20, man. He knows they have it. Where are they from? Huh? (Switzerland, as it turned out.) He don't care where they're from, but he does know that in Texas in the summer, people's feet sweat and stink and so he needs new socks. Give him the $20.

At this point, the kids' chatter has petered out. When none of them volunteers any money, he then addresses the girl: "Are you fucking one of them?" (gesturing toward her 2 male companions) No answer. "You know they just want to fuck you, right?"

I'd been silently stewing up until that point, pissed at yet another goddamn disturbance on the same bus route. And feeling bad for the foreign kids who probably took buses all the time back home, sans incident -- and now Austin and Texas were looking like stupid, backward fucks for allowing this kind of crude behavior on their public transportation. (And as the Indian kid a few days ago asked me, "Why didn't you do anything about it?")

Once the guy started in with the sexual comments, I snapped. (Also shades of a couple of years ago when I lost it--on a different route--with the 2 gang-bangers bragging loudly about what all they'd done to some "ho" that weekend.) When the bus came to its next stop, I marched up to the driver and said at the top of my lungs, WANTING everybody to hear me: "See that guy in the back corner?" (pointing) "He has been bothering people the whole time he's been on the bus. He's bugging people for money. He's making sexual comments. I'M SICK OF IT!"

I didn't know what the hell the driver would do. I felt like The Crazy Person at that point. The driver immediately got up and went to the back of the bus, me following and pointing: "THAT GUY! RIGHT THERE!" I just Did Not Care what the repercussions for me would be. Luckily, the driver was very authoritative, addressing the man: "Do you have a problem? What's your problem, Sir? Either you get it together, or you get off right here. Which is it?" VERY luckily, this particular loudmouth wasn't completely psycho -- he surprisingly, and anticlimactically, answered, "I'm gonna get off." And he did, without punching me on his way out. Whew. (When the adrenalin's flowing, you don't give a shit. Afterward, though, reality kicks in: "Jesus. I could have been punched in the face, or worse." Honestly, though, at the Time of the Adrenalin, I was almost WILLING him to DARE touch me. I know for a scary fact that I would have gone off on him physically in response, I was that pissed off.)

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