I’ll admit to owning some preposterous fears. Spiders, for example. No, it isn’t absurd to be scared of the eight-legged devils. It is, however, ridiculous to spend two nights sleeping in your car because you found a long limbed mini-creature crawling across your apartment floor. Well, to some. To me that’s just safety first.
That, however, pales in comparison to my debilitating fear of city buses. Yes, I loath the metro. A tubular locomotive carrying the depravity of human existence from place to place? Thanks, but I’ll pass. I suppose I have “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” to thank for my public transportation trepidation. Sweet D rides a bus after Charlie and Mac crash her car and her experience is, shall we say, less than desirable.
I didn’t think I’d have to live it, though.
Turns out, a metro moment thrust itself upon me with the inevitability of a prostitute with STDs. I was forced to ride the bus. Forced, I tell you. And the horror that ensued taught me that entertainment does, in fact, mirror reality.
I was hungover, per usual, with no makeup on, not usual, and trembling at the thought. Thankfully a male companion, well versed in the art of co-habitual travel, was there to hold my sweating hand. It isn’t as bad as you think, he said. You’ll be just fine, he said. Famous last words, is what he really said.
The individuals awaiting the wicked contraption were suspect at best. Shouldn’t you people be at work already? I mean, yes, I’m not. But I have a good excuse. I was hungover, remember? What are you people doing with your lives? On second thought, please don’t answer that question.
The boisterous beast arrived, dirty and loud. What’s with all the noise? Buses make the strangest sounds. As if meta found its voice and chose to use it as a warning system for its warm-blooded counterparts. Creek don’t-get-on-this-ebola-carrying-contraption creek hiss creek. Too late, my disease-spreading enemy.
I follow him on board, hunching my shoulders in an attempt to decrease my overall existence. I quickly survey my now fellow travelers. My initial analysis: I’m fucked. Little to no seats are available, of which I am almost grateful. No way I’m sitting next to the man who forgot how his shower works. And the homeless man, slumped and snoring in his seat? Forget about it. We stand behind a row and in front of the rear door. I hold on to the metal railing, avoiding any thoughts of sanitation. No time for wishful thinking, after all.
A few stops and I begin to relax. Until, of course, the rear door opens. How am I supposed to know anyone actually uses the fucking thing? Isn’t it like the rear door of a plane? Emergencies only and all that jazz? Clearly, not the case. And as this wicked metal mongrel opened it’s second mouth, I swear it tried to eat me. I jump like a Mexican bean, and immediately turn red. My travel partner laughs, then moves himself between the vengeful door and myself.
Ha. Yeah, that’s going to save me.
A few stops later and two seats show their stained faces. A tug or two from my companion and I find myself sitting down. On a bus. Sitting. On. A. Bus. I clench his hand and lean on his shoulder and close my eyes and wait for this blasted experience to be over. Kitty corner from me is a louder-than-necessary woman applying make up. Across from her is a seemingly kind-hearted man, splitting his attention between her and a warn paperback. They seem to know one another. Unless, of course, sharing rehab stories with strangers is perfectly acceptable while riding a Seattle City Bus.
What do I know? This is my first time.
It is then that I become privy to the fine art of tongue biting. The god awful woman, with heavy white eye liner and fake beauty marks, begins to talk about her children. Her children she lost due to her drug abuse. Her children she lost due to her drug abuse that CPS, for “whatever reason”, won’t give back. With every “CPS is so ridiculous” and “Why do they make it so hard”, I feel my mind slipping. The words “go fuck yourself you awful woman” are dangling from the tips of my teeth and it takes every fiber of my cinched jaw to subdue them.
I fucking hate the bus.
In an attempt to focus on something other than the sorry excuse for a mother, I survey the remaining passengers. My eyes fall on a man who’s eyes are rolling in the back of his head. He nods off every few seconds, his swollen hands clenching and releasing the backpack sitting in front of him. I realize the cause almost instantly. I have watched enough episodes of “Intervention”, thank you very much.
Heroin. It’s a motherfucker.
I can’t stop staring. Granted, I look away every few seconds for courtesy’s sake, but I can’t stop resting my eyes on heartbreaking man. It isn’t until I hear him, that I wish I would have. I look back to see him throwing up all over himself. No urgency in his regurgitation. No sudden need to hide his bodily function. He simply leans forward just enough to make sure he doesn’t choke on his own vomit, and empties his stomach all over his shirt, his hands, and his coveted backpack.
I begin to shake.
I inform my travel buddy of the situation no more than five feet away, and calmly explain the urgency in which we must get off the goddamn fucking bus. He is at a loss for words. I see it in his eyes, the overwhelming shock and disbelief. Every fear I have ever verbalized has metastasized in a matter of minutes.
Fuck me, I hate being right.
Five minutes and our final destination greets me. I refuse to pull the cord informing the bus driver that he does, in fact, need to save me from certain death. Who knows what would happen. Water dropped on my head? Or is this one of those, Nickelodeon slime-type situations? I refuse to chance it. The chord is pulled, the evil second door is opened, and before I know it I am shivering and shaking on the sidewalk. Never have I been more thankful to stand on a city street. I look at my travel companion. He looks at me. We both laugh and roll our eyes and tilt our heads in overwhelming disbelief.
Turns out, it’s Always Sunny in Seattle too.