My friend Lucas Malone tells me that my life is like an epic novel. Yeah, a totally fucked up novel written by Terry Gilliam. A good example of why I make this statement is what happened on the bus ride home this afternoon. I had to take a side trip to a costume shop near my work named House of Humor (I had to get makeup for the zombie makeup jobs I’m doing next Friday so we can go to Zombie-O-Rama in San Jose) so I didn’t catch my usual bus at the usual location. Instead I caught the notorious 390 bus. This bus is notorious to me because every time I catch this damned bus freakiness ensues. This time it was in spades. I got on the bus, which was pretty much full and I had to try to fit myself, my backpack, and my computer bag, aka my mobile office, into a very narrow seat next to Jabba the Hutt. I’m serious, people, this guy had to weight at least 500 pounds. He took up two entire seats on the sideway row of seats in the back that I tactfully call Skid Row. But that isn’t the freakiness I’m talking about. In the sideway handicap row in the front of the bus sat an old gentleman who literally looked like Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I’m not shitting you. This guy looked like a chimpanzee in a tan suit with a walking stick with a silver-looking handle. Anyway, ten minutes into the trip Monkeyman exploded into a rage and back handed the four foot tall Japanese lady sitting on the side row in front of him. A big, buff, Italian guy with a heavy black mustache and bald head got up to stop him. But Monkeyman (Yes, I am going to continue to call him that…If that’s not too much of a problem, Chief…) swung his walking stick at the guy and glared him down. He then told this large man, who reminded me of Bane from The Dark Knight Risen, that he was a mental patient with dementia. He then introduced the Japanese lady he had slapped as his nurse. He warned Italian Bane guy that he was crazy and if he didn’t back the fuck off that he was going to beat his skull in with the walking stick because he wasn’t afraid of him and didn’t give a fuck if he killed somebody. The Japanese lady started yelling at him. Also, the bus driver yelled at him to back down and take his seat, which also caused the bus driver to nearly hit another vehicle because he was distracted by the conflict. Monkeyman continued to threaten Italian Bane. Amusingly enough Italian whimped out a bit and hit Monkeyman with the “I’ll call the cops” strategy. Monkeyman told him to try, because he’d knock the cell phone out his hand with his walking stick and beat the fuck out of him before he could get the call through. Then Monkeyman informed Italian Bane that he was a crazy fucking black man that hated all I quote, “… fuckin’ white honky motherfuckers, chinks, spiks, and anyone other motherfuck on this bus. So don’t fuck with me. I’ll kill you all!” Well, the bus driver, who was still driving even though he had passed two stops and could have stopped and dealt with this personally, ordered the Japanese lady to handle her charge (but not in those words). After a few more moments the tiny Japanese lady managed to get Monkeyman back into his seat. Italian Bane went back to his seat too, but Monkeyman wasn’t finished. He kept looking back at Italian Bane and calling him names and threatening him more. This went on until finally Italian Bane got tired of Monkeyman’s special attention and came back to Skid Row with me and my sweaty companion, Jabba. This didn’t stop Monkeyman, because he was on a roll. He found three other people to harass before I thankfully got to make my retreat when my stop came.
Now, here is my question in this situation…Where the fuck was the bus driver in all this. Why the fuck didn’t he stop the bus at the next stop and deal with this very volatile situation like the captain of any ship would. I would think that any bus driver worth his metal would have stopped the bus at the next stop, called his supervisor, and then the cops. Then he would have gotten in the middle of this standoff and disengaged the situation, reminding both parties that if they dared touch him or made any aggressive move against him it would five years in the pokie as some tattooed guy’s bitch (it says that on a poster next to the driver’s area…though not the part about being someone’s bitch..). The thing that gets me is this outcome didn’t happen. The bus driver just kept driving no matter what.
After I got off the bus I called SanTrans (our bus agency) and reported the situation to their customer service person. When I asked why the bus driver didn’t stop and take action she informed me that SanTrans had changed some of their policies in regard to bus schedules and she guessed the bus driver didn’t want to be late and get penalized. Suddenly, I found myself channeling my one mentor Mr. Harlan Ellison. I said to her I quote “ Excuse me. Are you saying that your bus driver was more worried about keeping to his bus schedule than a potentially life threatening situation happening on his bus?” She informed me that if a bus is late, according to their policy, by more than ten minutes driver is penalized thirty minutes pay. I said, “Are you shitting me. A bus driver has to stop to stop a fight on his bus and protect the safety of his passengers and you ftards are going to penalize him because his bus is off schedule because of this…Are you fucking shitting me?” Then of course customer service girl informed me that she didn’t appreciate my vulgar language. I informed her in no uncertain terms that I didn’t like the fact that SanTran is more worried about keeping their damned schedule and the safety of their drivers than they are the safety of their own passengers. I also reminded her that an assault had actually happened on the bus. Customer Service girl said, in a controlled voice, that she was well aware of that. I smacked back with “You just don’t give a flying fuck...tThat’s the problem.” Then I said that I honestly hoped that Italian Bane guy (though I didn’t call him that to her) has some balls and sues SanTran and fucking ends up owning them. Before customer service girl could make another statement or excuse I told her to go to fucking hell and hung up on her.
So there is my amusing tale of my public transit experience…What you think? Is Lucas right? I look forward to your comments, readers…