More Tales From the Bus


I’ve had a few people ask me what it’s like using the public transit here in Sleepytown and each time they do I find myself bowled over with a plethora of feelings; is it good? Is it bad-is it safe? You tell me…’safe’ or ‘good’ are subjective terms. This is what the bus is-or can be:
Waiting for a bus that’s heading east and it’s already twenty five minutes late. I had big intentions of cussing the driver out or at least giving them the stink eye when eventually it pulls up. Before I can go into a rant with the driver she cuts me off by saying “Where were you twenty minutes ago when I needed you baby?” This totally diffused my anger all I could say was “I was standing out here waiting for you…baby.” She went on to explain how she had hoped there was a strong man on board who could’ve taken care of the belligerent drunk who got off the bus only two stops back. She said he was being a total dick and used the excuse that he was in a wheelchair, which gave him the right to be a grumpy fuck. Apparently he was cussing her up one side and down another and then I started feeling bad, not just for her, but because I missed a golden opportunity to help throw a handicapped guy off the bus.
Riding in on the bus to work one morning a young man ran up to the bus at a red light and banged on the door to get in. The driver patiently yelled to him and told him she could only pick up passengers at designated stops. She repeated this twice and pointed to the stop not more than one hundred fifty feet from the stoplight so he ran to the stop and waited for us to turn. As soon as the bus stop he jumped on and as the driver waited for him to pull out fair a small hatchback comes flying around the corner and does a dead stop directly in the front of the bus, squealing tires to a halt, blocking the bus from leaving. A frantic middle aged woman runs out of the car and jumps on the bus and begins explaining to the driver that this young man was off his meds and needed to go back to mental facility where he resides. He had escaped and this wasn’t the first time and when he escaped he got on buses and it could take hours to hunt him down. Now as she continued to explain all this to the driver the guy jumps off the bus and goes running down the street to catch a bus on a different line. The lady sees this and curses her own stupidity for letting him go and jumps off the bus to get back in her car to hunt him down. At that point a police car pulls up, blocking the lady in and the whole explanation story has to be retold at an even faster pace because the kid is getting further and further away.
A middle aged man was trying to get across a busy street to catch the bus (same one I was getting on). He had his hands full of grocery bags and the traffic was relentless…here came the bus, only a block and a half away and traffic wasn’t letting up. He was probably going to miss the bus and I felt his frustration so I decided to take the leap of faith and walked right out into traffic holding my hands out like some traffic cop. People can to a quick halt and started blowing horns and cussing at me but I could give a fuck. They had cars and this guy didn’t. They could wait a few extra seconds to let him pass. He passed and we both got on the bus. He sat down right behind me and thanked me for stopping traffic. “Man they could have run you over.” he said and reached into one of the bags and pulled out a beer. He handed it to me and opened one for himself, all the time peering up to make sure the driver wasn’t looking. Laws being what they are, apparently you aren’t supposed to drink liquor on a bus but we both figured we weren’t driving so….we proceeded to drink. The beer was warm but it felt good and we made sure to take our empties with us.
I have balked quite often about the lack of good service on the Indianapolis bus lines and will continue to do so but what it lacks in efficiency it more than makes up for with human oddities to entertain and educate you. Perhaps if the buses did run on time and were more pro-active in attracting more customers to ride the bus the whole attitude would change; but would it be for the better? If more business types did ride the bus on a regular basis they might start complaining about the sordid lot that uses it regularly, like the guy sitting in front of me today that was barefoot in this chilled autumn weather, sores all over his back (which he exposed when scratching) and sitting with his eyes closed, praying, I assume, for God to either help him out or take his life now. If more business types did use the bus, would IndyGo start raising the standards on what you needed to look like or how you needed to act in order to ride the line? Not all buses adhere to the ‘no loud music playing’ rule and definitely not the ‘no swearing’ rule. Maybe we should leave the bus as it is; an inefficient convoy for the strong willed to navigate; a sardonic trip for the hapless that becomes a beacon for those off their meds to come running for. No matter how erratic the people on the bus become, I believe I will always find interest within these public jaunts as they constantly remind me that there, but by the grace of chance, go I.


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