Sometimes people say the silliest stuff. Today, I had a few such gems. They were so amusing I had to share them.
First, the ugly. Poor ol' fella left his cane on my bus, but by the time I was alerted to the fact I had already left the stop. Downtown. Can't go backwards or stop in the intersection. Late to my break, had to pee. Felt bad, but rules are rules and the transit mall was packed with buses and misguided motorists. So I get to my end point, take an abbreviated stretch and hit the road again. Downtown traffic these days is a bear because one of our bridges is closed for repair. As I proceeded through a traffic light adjacent to a MAX train, the lady who had accompanied the now-caneless gent stepped into the transit way, between my bus and the train, screaming at me to stop. In the middle of the intersection that is, so she could berate me for "stealing" the cane. Sorry lady, but I'm not going to stop there, open the door in a dangerous place and allow you to yell at me for doing my job. Plus, you just came close to becoming a tragic transit pancake. Strike two to you, bubbaloo. Cane will be waiting at Lost and Found in the morning. Top o' the day, now get the hell outta the way. I felt bad, thinking ol' Pops must really depend on the cane. But I'm not the one who forgot it and I can't travel backward in time... only forward.
During rush hour on my outbound trip, traffic was typically backed up for about 15 blocks. At the end of this parking lot lies a particularly busy stop. A sulky looking teenaged girl mumbled something directly behind me. It sounded like a question, but I couldn't be sure. It was a warm day, the air conditioning thinks it's still winter in Portland so I have two fans blasting, so I looked in my passenger mirror and asked "Hmm?" This time she walked up and stood directly behind me. "When are we supposed to get to the stop?" It was obvious this 10-second traffic signal wasn't going to oblige my already-blown schedule, as I'd watched it cycle about five times before I got within striking distance. I frowned at her and said, "We were supposed to be there about 10 minutes ago, but I reckon we'll make it sometime before sundown." She wrinkled her brow into a sulk and sat back down.
Next, I roll up to a major stop and an older gentleman (I use the term grudgingly) asked me to give him a courtesy stop a few blocks up and around the corner. Explaining to him that it wasn't a safe place, I gently refused. "I'm sorry sir, I can't let you out there." His response was rude at best, ruefully vulgar at worst. He emphatically cursed me, then suggested I perform a sexual act upon myself that is neither possible or attractive to me in the least. "Have a nice evening sir," I replied through gritted teeth.
Just a bit later, downtown again, I came upon a young man with a fascinating question. "Hey, the bus that was supposed to come didn't come," he said. "When is it coming?" Hmm. No details here. Let's see. Either I could brand him for a dumbass just for asking such a thing, or take a gentler route. "I'm not sure sir, I'm not driving that one."
On my last trip out, one lady came up to my door just before my light turned green. I sighed emphatically. "Yes ma'am?" I said in my best controlled customer service voice. "The board up there says my bus won't be here for another 29 minutes, so when can I expect it?" This question, in addition to the day's previous gems, just floored me. I hung my head a moment, thinking of the best reply. "Well ma'am, I'd say it'll be here in about 28 minutes and 14 seconds." Then I shut the door and floored it.
It can often be a long, frustrating day behind the wheel of a bus. But sometimes, it's just entertaining enough to keep me smiling. Smooth runs, brothers and sisters.