March 13, 2010

A Moment In San Francisco

Not a half hour ago I was ruminating on how crappy I've been doing with keeping up on the lists thing, and with blogging in general. I saw another Listography book in the gift store of SFMOMA, which I'd just finished visiting for the first time, and I told myself I could NOT buy it because I'm not doing a good enough job with the one I have.

The thought of that was not enough to make me rush back to the hotel and do a post, but on the way back by bus something happened and all I could think about was, "I have to write about this." I don't even know why, other than it was just bizarre. I'm going to write it as I heard it, and you have to know that going in because the language is not what I would use myself. Read that as "WARNING, UNPLEASANT AND OBJECTIONABLE LANGUAGE AHEAD!" and do not bitch at me in the comments for it. (In other words, stop here if it's going to bother you, m'kay?)

I've been in and out of San Francisco all week and I've depended on public transit to get around because it's just too expensive for cabs, I can only walk so much and street parking is just a nightmare 95% of the time. So I've got a pretty basic handle on the system and feel comfortable taking it solo. In the back of my mind is always the recent spate of fights on the Muni system, recorded by omnipresent cell phones, that I've seen on the news, but so far, so good.

I got on the bus near the museum and was happy to find it uncrowded enough to grab a seat. The next stop, however, brought in what I immediately pegged (perhaps unfairly, perhaps not) as the Obligatory Bus Crazy Person and he set up shop right in the exit doorway, announcing as he boarded that we all needed to move because, "A black guy is getting on...and I've got a big dick. You all need to make room." You will perhaps understand my trepidation? Yes? Good, because it gets better.

He started complaining about the "nasty Chinese people" at the front of the bus who apparently wouldn't let some kids sit down. He continued rambling on, loudly, but apart from a few more "nasty ass" type things, I tuned him out.

The next stop brought in a flood of people and pretty much maxed out the bus. As people filtered back, it got crowded and two guys ended up next to the OBCP. One of them must have gotten that little bit too close because OBCP started making more noise and telling one of the two guys to move his ass. The young man, who was Asian American, was startled and asked if he was talking to him. "Yes, I mean you. Move yo' ass! I don't wanna be bumping asses with you, nigga! If I wanted to touch yo' ass, nigga, I'd reach out and grab it." Grumble grumble grumble.

I glanced over at the Asian woman sitting next to me and she kind of smirked back with shared amusement briefly, before turning away to distance herself from the situation. The young Asian American man moved as much as he could, smiled at his friend wryly and said, "I love the bus."

OBCP didn't like that. "Yeah, you love the bus. You love ass. Don't you bump asses with me nigga. If you was a white bitch, I'd do it. But you ain't, nigga." Grumble grumble grumble.

I realized that my stop was coming up soon and OBCP was between me and the exit. I wondered if I should say, "A white bitch wants to get off, please," but decided that wouldn't be all that wise. I stood up as the bus was coming to a stop, and the other young man moved aside for me. I quietly said, "Careful, you don't want to bump asses!" while smiling my thanks. He smiled back and let me step around him.

Just as I moved past him, OBCP saw me and it was like someone flipped a switch. He went from slightly crazy black man to a proper Southern gentleman. "You gettin' off here, ma'am? Here you go, sister." He moved aside and continued, "God bless you, ma'am, you have a nice evening." Astonished, I replied, "Thank you, sir, you too." (Sir? Sir!? Where the hell did that come from?) I moved down the stairs and off the bus, and as the doors shut behind me --  not letting anyone else on, much to the annoyance of the waiting riders -- I was just flabbergasted at how his demeanor had changed and how surreal my (otherwise dreaded) exchange with him was.

I walked away toward the hotel, thinking, "I have to write about this!" the whole time. I guess you never know when a blog post is going to hit you right between your normally-Politically-Correct eyes.