There is an altercation happening on the bus. For two reasons, I’m very excited to have observed this minor phenomenon. Firstly, I find SEPTA squabbles infinitely superior to what I’ve been doing (checking my cell phone every three seconds to see if the Man from Marshalls has called for a second date). Secondly, the fact that I’ve observed the said squabble proves that I’m getting better about noticing things. In fact, if the Man from Marshall’s does call to ask me out on a second date, I might even manage to note the color of his eyes.
The last time an altercation occurred onboard the bus, I was so engrossed in my novel du jour that I missed it (and judging by the shouts that accompanied the disruption, it was a good one. I think a car nearly drove straight into the front of the bus but alas, I will never be sure).
What’s happening is this: there is a woman in a Jazzy, otherwise known as a motorized wheelchair, attempting to disembark. According to the man in the back of the bus, she does this every day and she does it specifically to make him late to work.
“She don’t even need the bus!” he announces as the bus driver pulls the bus up to the curb and lowers the wheelchair ramp. “She’s only going one block!”
In the time that it takes the woman in the Jazzy to roll herself out onto the curb, I learn the following about her:
She only rides the bus for one block.
She only rides the bus for one block every day.
She rides the bus one block every day at the precise time that the man in the back of the bus needs to get to work. Therefore, she is obviously doing it out of spite.
A woman standing in the middle of the bus starts talking very loudly but very calmly about having patience. The man in the back responds, “Patience? You just watch. She’s gonna make us all late.”
The woman just smiles but then proceeds to do that smart-talking thing that social workers and therapists and Quakers do. She acknowledges the man’s needs (to not be late to work) while encouraging him to consider the needs of the woman in the Jazzy (to board another bus that’s just passing on the other side of the street).
I’m impressed—either she’s managed to appeal to the man’s more compassionate side or he’s just grown tired of yelling.
But as the woman in the Jazzy zooms away to catch her next bus I can’t help but feel rather disappointed; did the smart-talking social worker lady have to step in? I was desperately hoping to witness a proper altercation, in which to woman used her motorized wheelchair for something other than transportation… say, as a weapon, perhaps. And a small part of me sided with the man in the back of the bus; I didn’t begrudge her the use of public transport but I do believe that in traffic, the Jazzy could have easily beaten the bus down the sidewalk.
Of course, the woman on the motorized wheelchair has every right to ride the bus but if I’m ever reduced to riding in a Jazzy, I’m definitely going to drive down the sidewalk whenever possible, unless of course it’s raining. But I will have a proper, well-decorated Jazzy, complete with a convertible top and a sidecar for all of the men I’m going to pick up at the Senior Center (I suspect that I’ll meet Date #672 on my way to the mini-mall when they’re having a sale on Vaseline and if my anti-cellulite regime ever starts to pay off, I’m sure I’ll find myself another willing candidate in the water aerobics class. I could even become a cougar and start flirting with my neighbors’ offspring or maybe start a speed dating club at the activities center). The possibilities are endless but I know one thing for sure: my Jazzy is going to be entirely too fabulous for the likes of SEPTA.
Actually, make that two things I know for sure. As the crowd on the bus quiets down, I realize that my phone is beeping. The phrase “a watched pot never boils” comes to mind when I glance at the screen because there before me is a message from the Man from Marshalls. And its exactly the sort of message I’ve been hoping for.
Moral of the story? If given the choice between observing an altercation on the bus and checking your cell phone every three seconds, go for the altercation. In doing so, you’ll trick the universe into thinking you’re being totally Zen about your latest love interest (indeed, you might even trick yourself) and the universe will reward you for your good behavior with a second date.