Bus Strike

Fucking bus strike. If you live in the Denver metro area, which Boulder is a part of, you probably have heard that RTD, our bus service, is on a partial strike right now. As a bus driver myself (although I work for a different service), I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, I want to say “more power to ’em” if it works. Driving buses sucks sometimes, and the pay is kind of shitty. On the other hand, as a student driver at CU, the pay is actually worse than with RTD, and we often have to drive around busloads of drunken asshole students. So perhaps I’m just a bit jealous that they get to strike and we don’t.
At the same time, though, I think the worst effect of the strike is the increased number of crazy people hanging out on the streets. As you may know from reading my music reviews, I have trouble dealing with crazy people, because I take them seriously. This happened today as I was walking home. After crossing a major street in Boulder, I reached the opposite sidewalk, and a man said to me, “By the way!” I should have known that this man was a bit off, not only because the phrase “by the way” generally indicates that a conversation has previously taken place between two people, but also because this man was wearing a parka and a Swedish-girl-style stocking cap. At the time, it was nearly 70 degrees and I myself was wearing a T-shirt.
Anyhow, this guy called out to me from about four feet away and hurried over to me. He began to tell me that the buses were going on strike, and that I should know that. He told me that was why he was walking. Or something like that. I was too busy paying attention in quiet horror to grove of hair jutting out of his nose and the spittle quickly forming on his lips, praying quietly that none of it would fly through the air and land on me. This man kept on talking and talking, and I was taken by surprise that his ramblings were actually somewhat coherent. Somewhat. He seemed to be expressing worry that he’d not be able to get to work without the bus. The ramblings got a bit weird, though, when he started asking me for specific advice and asking questions that I couldn’t possibly know the answer to, such as:
“I guess I could always move in with Greg, but I guess then I’ll have to be on my best behavior, because Greg doesn’t tolerate any problems, but he’s the boss, so don’t you think that I wouldn’t have to get the permission from the department to move in with Greg?”
“But the move would have to be soon and I have to tell Greg now, right, since we need to get a moving van?”
“So if I do all that, will I still get the Medicaid benefits?”
“So who do I ask about all this?”
Basically, I let the guy talk at me for about five minutes, and then I told him I had to get home to pee. Which was kind of true. The point, though, is that crazy people like him should be riding around on the bus where they belong. At least that way I know they’re contained in a given space. That way, I’m able to deal with them when I come across them on the bus and they inevitably ask me about sports.
That’s another thing: Why do people on the bus always want to talk to me about professional sports? If you know anything about me, you know that I pretty much fucking hate watching sports on TV (except soccer, maybe, and a couple beers sure help the game go down smoothly). And if you know this, then please tell anyone that you know that rides a bus, so they’ll stop asking me about such random shit.
For example, I was leaving my friend Annie’s house a while back, and I waited at the bus stop. This older guy was already there with a guitar, so he stood up and started talking to me. He was continually blinking his eyes, so he pointed out right away that his eyes were red because he’d just showered, not because he was drunk. “…At least not that drunk,” he added. Anyhow, he went on to play me a “blues song” that he had written and explained that he was headed to open mike night at a local bar. We got on the bus and he continued talking to me, and I was actually almost enjoying hearing him ramble, until all of a sudden he asked me if I thought that the “A’s had what it takes to get the pennant this year.” Dammit!
Something similar happened to me on two occasions on another bus route, when a blind lady engaged me in conversation about the NFL. Since she was blind, she couldn’t see my confused looks when she asked me about the previous week’s games, but still…how does one just randomly engage a complete stranger (me) in conversations about something he knows absolutely nothing about on such a consistent basis?? And how come I keep falling for it and trying to rationally talk with these people?? Oh well. The world may never know.
My final bus bitching for the day: How come, when I’m driving the bus, do only the weird people want to talk to me? It’s a pretty solitary job and our routes are short, so you don’t really expect to converse with many people when driving. But when someone does strike up a conversation with you, it’s always in a vague, non-answerable manner, such as “Man, I got so many fucking finals this week.” What is your bus driver supposed to say to something like that? And it’s always the weird kids that talk to you…maybe the types that will ramble to you about Greg in the years to come. It’s never the super-hot girls in the revealing clothing or the people carrying an open bag of chips. Those are the types of people that you might actually want to talk with, but they just get on and move right to the back.
Anyhow, speaking of rambling…
Point is, I have a message for RTD workers and management: Brothers gotta work it out! The crazies need a place to go, and by allowing this strike to go on, you’re depriving them of their natural habitat. So, in the interest of labor relations and the sanity of the public as a whole, let’s get this whole strike thing solved soon! Thank you.

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Errand-Running Monkey at Sitzblog
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2 thoughts on “Bus Strike

  1. Also, when the bus wasn’t working, all of the scary people who rode the Skip were now riding the Hop. There was a man with no teeth and an eyepatch who tried to caress my hair. Bus strike no me gusta.

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