19 February, 2009

The Joys of Public Transit

I do not own a car. I am hoping I will not have to own one for awhile. I live close enough to walk to my department and the rest of campus and I take the bus everywhere else. People with cars generally don't grasp riding the bus; they believe it must be wildly burdensome, uncomfortable, etc. It's generally none of those things. Most people are totally oblivious to the entertainment value.

This morning I finally got around to making a grocery run after my stocks had dwindled to tea and tortillas. I sat my pack down at the bus stop to wait for the 10 just as a wiry man sporting a thick Nordic sweater and even thicker Manson-esque head of hair and beard. His nails were a few inches long, but neat, and he balanced his cigarillo delicately between two fingers. He kindly informed me that the grocery store had just wrapped up its weekly free doughnuts and coffee and then casually asked if I knew I could be arrested just for sitting at a bus stop. He told me he had been arrested for criminal trespassing for sitting at a bus stop and this led to a discussion of rights and organizing the people. As somebody who will talk to anyone we kept the conversation going for several minutes. Then he told me something new.

"Did you know that Oprah ran for President recently? I'm sure glad she didn't get it because can you really imagine Oprah as Commander in Chief? She'd nuke everybody!"

He laughed as I pondered the idea of Oprah as a Strangelovean leader of the free world.

"I'm glad we have a black president, though. All the wars this country's ever fought were started by white men."

His bus pulled up, headed north, and we parted.

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