Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How it all began

In 2010, I started taking the bus more often than I used to, and I discovered that there are some very interesting people taking the OC Transpo busses in this Capital city of ours. One day, I had a strange sighting on the number 9, and updated my Facebook status:
"I think I'm going to start keeping a record of the interesting ppl I see and meet on the bus. Today: creepy guy talking to himself, turning back to look at me every time we come to a stop. As I'm thinking of what I'll do if he does follow me off the bus (I have my stilts with me, so I am armed), he puts his finger to his nose, comes out with some liquid snot, then proceeds to put his finger in his mouth, and then smacks his lips appreciatively. Gross. Luckily, he did not follow me off the bus."
Since then, I've been regularly updating my status with my bussing observations. Recently, someone suggested I could start a blog with these little stories. So here it is!
To begin with, here is a review of previous updates. Enjoy! 

On the bus today:
1- Creepy-snot-guy was back, stealing glances at me. He even switched seats to get a better view!
2- Loud French-Canadian man swearing into his phone, warning 'Ned' against a nervous breakdown. 'Ostie de tabarnac, sacrament, holy f---, oui, tabarnac de calisse, esti!'
On passe du Mammet au Dalpé
On the bus today: a big, burly man, waiting for the bus with his mouth open, and looking slightly awkward with his yoga mat sticking out of his gym bag.
On the bus today: I'm sorry to report another occurrence of a rude bus driver. Passenger, showing the driver a paper with hand-written instructions, asks if she's on the right bus. 
Driver: 'You'll have to read it to me, I can't read without my reading glasses' (so far, so good, but then:) 'it's not part of my job to read your handwriting!' 
Really, was that necessary? Sigh. 
Waiting for the bus today: A beautiful young man, happily lost in his thoughts, smiling to himself.
On the bus today: Snot-guy is back, making strange moaning sounds.
On the bus today: A woman gets on, looking confused. She doesn't take a seat, simply looks up and down the bus, looking even more confused, and then gets off at the next stop. I wonder who she was hoping to find here...
Waiting for the bus today: A woman using a lint roller on her pants at the bus stop. Thanks to years of reading detective novels, I can safely deduce that:
a- She owns a furry pet
b- She was late getting out the door this morning. 
Elementary, my dears.
Upon further observation, I can also deduce that she didn't have time to brush her teeth this morning, and that she probably has at least one young child

On the bus today: A young woman saw that I was running to catch the 95, which was closing its doors, so she held the door for me, then checked to see if anyone else was running to catch a connection. Very thoughtful, considering how many bus drivers tend to drive off when they see people running to catch up! Merci mademoiselle!

On the bus today: A mother is talking to her baby, stream of consciousness style, non-stop, about everything going through her head. 'Look, he's wearing a watch! But you won't learn to tell the time until you're much older. Mommy didn't learn until she was 8 or 9. And look, a phone. Your great-grandma still has an old basic phone. She doesn't need anything more.' And on, and on and on. I wonder how long it will take this child to learn to roll her eyes and say 'Oh, Mother!'

Dans le bus aujourd'hui: Une femme qui n'arrête pas de répéter 'Shit qu'il fait chaud. Shit qu'il fait chaud.' Je pense qu'elle aimerait bien que quelqu'un lui réponde, mais tout le monde fait un effort pour éviter son regard.

On the bus today: I put my bike on the rack, behind a sleek racing bike, complete with a number in front. Once on the bus, I look around, trying to figure who this bike belongs to, expecting to see a fit cyclist, wearing Lycra or whatever cyclists wear to race. Turns out the bike belonged to a man wearing a bad fedora, and sporting a very large beer belly. Sure showed me!
On the bus this morning: A couple, completely lost in their little world. They've each got an earbud  and are staring into each other's eyes. But somehow, they look sad and worried. The husband gently kisses her face, she plays with her (new?) wedding ring. Also, cute detail, her forehead fits perfectly into the ridge of his nose!

(Not quite) on the bus tonight: I see the 95 coming into the station. I start running. People are boarding the bus. I run down the stairs, carrying my bike. The doors shut. I signal the driver, with my most charming smile. The bus driver looks at me. Drives away. I curse.

On the bus tonight: A tall dwarf, a pock-faced woman, and a man with a silver suitcase. They're laughing and grinning at each other, sharing a secret we can only try to guess at. They're speaking a language I can't understand, but the woman repeats "Such a beautiful, a magical place" "A perfect place". Their elation makes me imagine that they've just pulled off something unbelievable, like robbing a bank, or escaping from an evil kingdom.

On the bus tonight: A young man and his football jersey, shoulder pads included. I'm trying not to breathe in too deeply...

On the bus tonight: A punk bad-boy, a woman dressed for the Grand Ole Opry, and a girl wearing what looks like Victorian underwear. It never gets boring here!

On the bus tonight: A young man wearing low-riding jeans and a wife-beater, slouching in his seat, next to his bleached-blond girlfriend with very big bosom almost falling out her tube-top. They are hogging the priority seats at the front. And yes, I am being very judgemental, I know.

Although taking the bus is often a very antisocial, 'leave me alone in my bubble' kind of experience, I am often moved and impressed by the sense of community that can sometimes arise.
(On The Bus Today: at Mackenzie King station, I had a nice chat about music with a friendly man. Then, when a young man fell off his skateboard and hit his head, many people came to his aid, offering towels, calling an ambulance, making sure he was ok... Once on the bus, the friendly driver greeted everyone, in French and English, and even recognised a rider from earlier in the evening. A good way to end a tiring night.)

On the bus today: A young boy sitting behind me is impressed by the amount of water that's fallen from the skies: <Good things there's no floods in Canada... right?> <We'll go home, and then we'll be nice and cosy.> <Woa. At least it'll help the plants to grow.> <Will it stay like this forever?>

I love to observe the non-verbal cues people give each other on the bus. <I'm getting off at the next stop, please let me pass.> <I'm also getting off at this stop, don't worry, I'll move when it's time.> ...

Waiting for the bus today: 4 police cars at Hurdman station. Two women are giving a colour commentary on everything that's going on. The guy in handcuffs is being released, and it all ends with friendly fistbumps! All that's left are the two women, still talking about nothing.

Fun game to play on the bus: deviner si les gens sont francophones ou anglophones juste en les regardant. I'm usually pretty good at guessing a person's first language by their face and expressions.

On the bus today: the most adorable little old woman, straight of a storybook, with a blue kerchief on her head and eyes that have seen the world.

Late night bus ride. A grown man gets on the bus, wearing furry bunny ears over his tuque, and rolled-down purple and black knee-highs. huh.

Off the bus tonight: got off the bus at Hurdman, to see three OC Transpo police officers talking to a man with blood on the side of his head, while another man (presumably the assailant) was trying to get them to hear his side of the story. I'm not good with confrontation, so I was a bit shaken, but luckily I met a friend on the next bus I got on, who helped me feel better. Oh, dear OC Transpo, you're always entertaining.

On the bus today: A mother just told her young daughter that if she didn't behave, 'I'll smack your butt in front of everyone.' Hmmm... maybe not the best choice of words.

On the bus today: A young woman is using her iPod camera as a mirror, to check her teeth and clean them out with a toothpick.

On the bus today: It's snowing. In the bus. Just on me, it would seem. I feel like the cartoon character with a cloud over her head, but instead of rain and thunder, it's little snowflakes falling on me.

On the bus today: It would seem I've caught the special school route version of my local bus. Tweens are loud. And vulgar. My poor ears. And head. Maybe I should've walked.

On the bus tonight: A man with no nose and a man with a hole in his trachea are talking - quite loudly - about how hard it i to breathe, what it's like to take a shower (the man without a nose can't: he chokes), how their snot looks like cement after a night's sleep,... I'll admit, I'm slightly freaked out. 


  1. great idea to gather them in a blog :) you should add the date of the trip. Min.

  2. Merci Min! I'd thought of adding the date of the trip, but it was tough enough to find the updates on Facebook, I got a bit lazy... ! But future trips will be dated! :)