Monday, August 17, 2009

Bus Stories: Chapter One

The Parkway 165 is its own little world. There are people who take the train to Manhattan, then there are those of us who ride the bus to The City. We get on at our frigid or steaming or wet stops and smash ourselves into the 49 seats inside the atmosphere that is controlled by the driver. By sheer luck each day the pleasantness of your ride is determined by the hygiene and habits of your seatmates. Yes the bus is a different world from the train. Characters abound inside that tube of steel and padded foam seats. In the next few entries I will attempt to convey to you, the reader, the unique experiences bus riders endure when commuting to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City.
In order to give you an idea of the passenger that rides the bus, my wife once had the occasion to pick me up. Her car was facing the bus door as the passengers unloaded and she viewed each person as they dis-embarked from the bus. As I got to the car she was inside laughing hysterically. When I asked her what was so funny she said that she was struck funny because every person that came off the bus was funny looking or ugly. One after the other, the bus unloaded a carnival like freak show in front of her and it just struck her as funny.
She isn't exaggerating. I will start with the 5 foot tall man that sits on the bus each day and cowers whenever anybody sneezes, coughs or sniffles. This man looks as if he should have retired years ago. His portly self is squeezed into ill fitting, rather drab and dirty looking suits. He reads the free newspapers that are given out on the streets and generally looks as if he has sucked lemons all day. He has a nasty habit of digging in his ears with his pinkie fingers and pulling out gobs of sticky earwax. He then will proceed to wife it on the upholstery of the seat in front of him. This is a disgusting site that makes my stomach turn. People have audibly groaned when he does it, but he ignores them. He is a disgusting troll like being.