During rush hours, the citizenry of metro transit line 4F is interesting, but still a relatively main-stream group. Thirty minutes or more outside of official rush hour, though, and the crowd can get positively surreal.
I have a pretty prodigious imagination, but I couldn't possibly have scripted last night's vignette, which reminded me of a story line from some bad counterculture comic book story-board.
Sitting on the first forward facing seat, I had a clear view of the little club of inward facing bus seats lining the front segment of the bus. On the left were two gentlemen. Farthest from me was a rotund little man wearing a grey Cub Foods polo shirt and ball cap. He seemed like "Boyd" to me. Bloyd's black jeans were rolled up at the bottom, and the lower 8 inches of his trousers were speckled with what seemed to be meat byproducts. I estimated that his 5-ft. 3" frame was packing 280 pounds or so. For most of the next half hour, he appeared be sleeping——at least he was snoring audibly.
Nearest to me on the left side was Frank, 65 years old or so, wearing fleece bedroom slippers, a Minnesota Twins club shirt, and a ball cap that said "NUmber 1 Grandpa" on the front. In his lap, he balanced a 30-lb. bag of Kingsford charcoal. From the way his jaw moved up and down, it was clear that he was missing his dentures.
On the right-hand row of inward-facing seats, furthest from me sat a cross-dressing man about 60 years of age, who I'll call Sean. Sean was wearing a blue dress that ended about 9 inches above the knee, with black fishnet stockings that did little to hide the thick leg hair which he hadn't bothered to shave away. Black patent-leather high-heels completed the lower half of the ensemble.
Sean could have used a little help with his gear, for his well-stuffed bra rode very high on him, so that his simulated breasts seemed to jut out at roughly the level of his collar bones. The ear-rings and makeup, however, were tasteful and well selected.
Sean chose to sit near the front to flirt with the bus driver, a 50-year old hispanic man who was profoundly uncomfortable with the attention. Sean talked pretty much non-stop, both to the bus driver and to those sitting around him. Life is a little challenging for Sean, I imagine.
The other inward-facing seats on the right side were full, but the characters were non-descript.
Then a new passenger, Louise, boarded the bus. Louise was a young woman carrying a small cage holding a fluffy yellow cat that hissed instantly and incessantly. The only seat available was one between Boyd and Frank on the left row of seats, which Louise took.
Sean's attention was instantly drawn to the caged cat across the aisle from him, and he began to poke his fingers through the cage trying to play with the animal. Louise repeatedly warned Sean that the cat was mean and prone to attack. Sean loudly insisted that he didn't care at all, and continued to agitate the animal with his finger poking into the cage.
"So is your kitty a boy or a girl?" He asked. Louise indicated that the cat was male.
"Ah, a little boy," Sean said. By this time Boyd and awakened, and seemed to have spotted Sean for the first time. To my discomfort, Boyd seemed to by trying to peak up Sean's dress.
Sean continued. "A little boy kitty," Sean said, adjusting his fishnet stockings. "I wasn't sure. Sometimes it's not always easy to tell the difference between boys and girls."
To the credit of the bus passengers, no one laughed out loud at this straight line delivered on a platter. There were only some quietly amused glances exchanged, and I was proud of their restraint. My pride in my fellow passengers wouldn't last long, though.
Sean continue to poke at the cat in his cage; the hissing grew louder; Louise kept warning Sean about the potential danger.
Frank then spoke up, and I was surprised to here him articulate in a very clear Australian accent, even though he had no teeth.
"This woman has asked you time and again," he sternly said to Sean sitting across the aisle, and a little ripple in the fabric of the cosmos told me that another shoe was about to fall.
Frank shifted his back of charcoal. "Listen, now, you," he said to Sean in a voice loud enough for sidewalk pedestrians to hear. "This woman, she DOES NOT WANT YOU TO FINGER HER PUSSY."
All passengers on the bus looked down at their feet. It was quiet enough to hear a pin drop.
I"m going to confine my bus rides to the rush hour from now on.