Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What We Learn From a Bus Ride

There are moments in our lives that can, if we allow them, give us pause for deep reflection. These moments typically occur while moving through the simplest, most mundane tasks of our daily routines.

So maybe we are not world leaders. Maybe we feel insignificant and that what we do or how we treat others in the day-to-day doesn't matter. Who's taking care of us, right? If the experience below has any influence whatsoever at a personal level, then maybe it's a good time to have a re-look at our value systems and our role within the human walk.

This email came on August 5, 2008 from a very dear friend who has been living in San Francisco for more than 12 years. The email subject line read “what we learn from a bus ride”

Yesterday on a Van Ness St. bus, a woman sitting just behind the bus driver decided to "take charge." Tourists from abroad, as well as locals, were crowding the front of the bus and not moving to the back where there was more than ample room, as well as occupying seats designated for seniors and the disabled which are located at the front of the bus behind the driver.

The woman was black, slim, older, used a cane, etc. She told everyone that they had to stand behind the yellow line and then asked others to move back, but was ignored. Her remarks were priceless and although serious, I’d wished that I had only been observing a comedy sequence on "Mad TV", and not witnessing this in real life.

Two couples in their mid-30's to 40’s got this from her: “OK, so maybe you don't understand English, but common sense is universal and so is this Mutha f*cker, so look at my finger and see that as I speak it's pointing to the back. Mutha f*ckers move back!"

Three teenage, local white boys just stood there and laughed, so she told them that they had better listen to her because not only could she cuss them out, but she'd take them all on and ram her cane up their asses if that's what it took to get the right response.

She referred to a black 20-something-year-old as "n*gger boy" when she reprimanded him.

She told a British guy that he understood what the signs said, and he just stared at her and would not move. So she told him that in this country a black man can get shot at just for lookin' at a white woman, so if he did not stop lookin' at her and move his ass to the back of the bus she would beat the livin’ crap out of his frail, little mutha f*ckin’ frame.

When a legless lady tried to board in her wheelchair and nobody moved it was beyond anything cruel I could ever have imagined. This outspoken woman stood up, grabbed that cane, and started to ram it through the pants of the guys standing and blocking the invalid. I began to wonder who was crazier or more disturbed, the woman or the uncaring, oblivious, bastards just standing there.

Yes, I finally got involved. I told people to get off of the bus so a wheelchair could get on, and actually had to push a bit to accomplish it.

This woman was seriously over the top, but everything she was angry about was justifiable. People have become heartless, too many of them. A few even replied about the legless woman in the wheelchair: "let her wait for the next bus, it should be right behind this one." The black woman “in charge” went nuts and said, "mutha f*ckers all of yuh, don't want to be inconvenienced by someone who got no legs”, and kept repeating obscenities.

She told the white guys they were n*ggers even though their skin was white and that their mammas were all whores because they behaved like sons of bitches.

OMG...if we just look and listen and are not living in a state of denial, this was a major realization that we have to fend for ourselves and for others who cannot. In a period of 25 minutes I was exposed to far too many people of varied races, cultures, and age groups whose hearts beat only for themselves. It should never have to take an angry and seemingly “psycho person” to take control of what is right.

1 comment:

  1. I am not so sure the woman was "psycho". Maybe she looked that way in the context of a clearly "psycho" society that ignores the obvious way one should treat fellow "passengers" on the journey. Her behavior is an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete

This is where our backseat drivers can give a shout out from the back of the bus.