Saturday, October 11, 2014

Priority Battles and Honored Antics

Gee there are a lot of "Honored" citizens in Portland. Many could run the length of a bus backward and hop-skip back to the front quicker than I can get out of the seat. Methinks they just don't want to pay the exorbitant Adult fare, but who am I to judge?

To me, it would seem right that to truly be "Honored" means you are elderly (over 65, even though many people who fit this category are in much better shape than most of us "juniors"), or that you have some  disability that limits your movement or intellect. You should also have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, if under 65, that you fit specifications of the Honored Few. But in this day of absurd political correctness and "anyone can claim disability" social atmosphere, that's but a pipe dream.

There are also many, surprisingly, who either can't read, or just can't be bothered by, silly rules. The "Priority Seating" area of buses and trains are reserved for "seniors and people with disabilities". Sure, it's a pretty vague statement, but many abuse these terms because, well, they're assholes.

Let's take, for example, a crowded bus meandering its way toward downtown. In the "Priority Seating" area are two seniors with bulging shopping carts. The bus is their only means of transportation, and they compete with "standees" in the aisles. The right side of the priority area is dominated by a dangerously obese man in an equally large mobility device, displacing three seats. Squeezed into the two remaining spots are Smelly Shelly the Senior Streetwalker and Larry Loudmouth her "handler" (who drones on about his own supposed "disabilities").

Pop hops on board with Lil' Sally in the stroller. He demands one of these seats, after arguing with Ollie Operator as to whether he should remove Snoozin' Sally from her comfy Stroller SUV. In order to comply with transit agency rules, he's to remove Sally and fold up the stroller. Today's strollers have many handy spots to store the 150 items necessary to transport small children, making them nearly impossible to fold up. Ollie informs him the next bus is just a few minutes behind (and gaining every second this bozo argues), and perhaps he'd be more comfortable on that one. Ollie's follower is enjoying a relatively empty bus because Ollie's so late he's picking up the extra passengers. Pop continues to argue until one stately gentleman stands and offers his seat to this rude young father, just to get the bus rolling again. After all, Aging Arnie is on his way to an important doctor's appointment that took weeks to schedule.

So with that incident settled, Ollie rolls on. At the very next stop, his buddy Madame Guttersnipe awaits her favorite operator's overloaded Gillig. Legally sight and hearing impaired, she is also unsteady on her feet. She's also very well-versed in disability directives. She will blatantly tell Pops to "MOVE" if she determines he is unlawfully taking a seat reserved for her. One look at Madame and they usually move without comment, especially if she raises her cane. Only problem is this time, most of those sitting have fairly-valid reasons. Except Smelly Shelly, who defiantly refuses to budge.

Operators often have to deal with these delicate situations. If not handled properly, they can result in one or more complaints. Usually, the pissed-off customer ends up pissing on the hapless operator. If passengers cannot resolve the conflict on their own, Ollie's only recourse is to call Dispatch and ask for a supervisor to come sort it out. Or, he can pivot in his seat, roar in his impressive lion voice for someone to make room, "or else". Which makes him sit, clock ticking.

Other passengers become irate, and start badgering Smelly to move. Arnie nervously checks his watch. Franny Follower zips past Ollie, who can only hold his hands up in a "sorry, I got problems here" gesture. Meanwhile, Madame begins reading Smelly the riot act, because her back is hurting and she needs to sit. Terry Teenybopper in the seat behind Smelly unplugs and re-engages to ask "whattup?". Upon learning of the ordeal, he (surprisingly) offers Madame his seat, who thanks him profusely and accidentally thumps Smelly with her cane (muttering "sorry, dumb ass" as she sits).

Feigning indignation, Smelly makes a terrible decision. She starts berating Madame in guttural pidgkin English. Ollie smirks in spite of his growing headache, because he knows what comes next.

"Stifle," Madame hisses, "or suffer my wrath, you odoriferous waste of precious oxygen."

Smelly pauses, trying in her drug-induced confusion to decipher Madame's obviously insulting command.

"Hey bish," Smelly complains.

"You don't even know the definition of bitch, let alone have the ability to competently pronounce, or even spell the word. Now back off or you'll be sporting a rectal-cranial inversion brought on by my trusty mobility device." Madame waves her cane menacingly in Smelly's angrily-contorted face for emphasis.

An experienced street-dweller, Smelly understands a threat. She may be messed up, but she believes herself certainly tough enough to handle this hobbled geezer. Her final mistake is to clumsily reach in front of Madame in an attempt to grab the cane. Sensing the move, Madame has positioned herself so that Smelly's arm brushes against her, initiating the contact allowing her to "reasonably defend herself".

The first strike is a sharply-upward thrust of the cane's curved handle, which breaks Smelly's nose. Second, the tip makes contact with a knobby knee, which bends Smelly over in order to receive a third "thunk" which connects with the top of her head. Smelly melts into a fetal position in a pool of blood and urine.

She's still screaming when the police haul her off the bus in handcuffs five minutes later. Ollie, having predicted the outcome of Smelly's abuse of Dearly Beloved Madame, has alerted Dispatch to have a supervisor and police meet the bus en route. This allows him to avoid losing even more time waiting for help to arrive. He manages to avoid chuckling as he gives his report, but thoroughly enjoys retelling the story later at the end-of-the-line break he's managed to salvage.

There is no moral to this story. People make up their own morality, and act accordingly. While this may be a work of fiction, Madame Guttersnipe is a real person wholly capable of ruining your day if you refuse to yield to someone who truly needs Priority Seating. And don't be surprised if you join fellow passengers applauding her when she teaches another Smelly a much-needed lesson in humility.


  1. I'd swear you have "Ollie" mixed up with "Gloree" the route 4 operator! Lmao! Are you sure you haven't been following me around at work???? Great blog��

  2. ROFRL (Rolling On Floor Roaring Loudly) --The Rampant Lion

  3. HAHAHAHA! I've had Smelly Shelly on my bus. Had to try not to laugh, & keep some kids from making fun of her odor.

  4. Really good stuff and so true

  5. Recently having more and more folks requesting "Honorable Citizen" tickets. Often times a snort escapes my mouth as many of them are shall I say of the not so honorable description per Tri Mets say.