Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dirty Karaoke

This week I was asked out by my morning commute bus driver. This is the third bus driver to ask me out in as many months. At first, I was flattered, but then I started thinking .... Wait. I actually seem attainable to these guys! What on earth would make them think that? Because I ride the bus every day? Might as well stop at the Starbucks along the way for a quick coffee date? This just cannot continue. It cannot. Time to get a bike.

So I think I broke karaoke's cardinal rule on Thursday night: Leave no man behind. Or is that the Army's? In any case, I was brought up "on stage," which was more like a slightly elevated section that didn't have quite as many beer puddles as the rest of the room, to sing Dirty Diana. Now, I don't know the lyrics to the song, I don't even know how it's supposed to sound like aside from the refrain, so I don't know what possessed me from agreeing to it in the first place. All I can think is that I was still on a high from my performance of my fellow Jersian's Livin' on a Prayer. Not getting booed off the stage or hit with any flying objects is a success in my book.

As soon as I grab the microphone and look at the screen, I knew I was in trouble. The lyrics were all there for the taking, but the music was throwing me off. How is this damn song supposed to go again? The last time I'd heard it was on MTV ... right after an episode of Remote Control. And the neon green test tube shot I'd downed moments before was not helping to jog my memory much either. I stood there for what seemed like an eternity, and although I miraculously refrained from going into any awkward Ashlee Simpson ho-downs, I did something even worse: I left my friend on stage to work her way through the evil song I now know to avoid like neon green test tube shots.

Luckily, she's very pretty and a guy from the audience was quick to rush to her rescue to suffer through the rest of the song with her. I felt horrible. Like probably the rest of the people in the bar who'd been subjected to the song. Actually, to be honest, I don't think anyone was paying much attention anyway. They were too busy dodging what I hoped was water that kept dripping from the ceiling at two-minute intervals.

Unbelievably, we were not to be deterred. After the song finally, mercifully ended, we went right back into the fire with a little Bryan Adams. The "Summer of '69" totally redeemed us. To the only dry couple left in the place, anyway.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Bus Blues

It's no secret that I hate the bus. For the past few months, I've dealt with having to sit next to smelly smoker people, smelly nondeodorant users (I've discovered I actually "prefer" BO to smoke) and listen to a woman file her nails for half an hour and a man with an unfortunate phlegm problem and an apparent ignorance of Kleenex snort the entire one-hour trip to the North Shore. I've even barely escaped a would-be crime on my bus driver by an angry Revere man over an abandoned Starbucks coffee cup.

But none of that compares with having to wait fifteen, twenty, sometimes even more than thirty minutes past the scheduled time my bus is supposed to pick me up every day after work. It's a weird feeling to want something that you have a miserable experience on on a regular basis, but after a long day at work, and facing an already long commute, those extra minutes of waiting time seem like an eternity.

My regular bus driver had a two-week long vacation, during which the bus came on time. Once, it was late by five minutes, and the bus driver apologized for her delay as I stepped on the bus.

"Are you kidding me? This is early as far as I'm concerned." I was giddy just thinking about how I'd be able to catch all of The Insider when I got home.

But my regular bus driver came back last week, and every day since then, it's been back to being obscenely late. This time, however, I knew that things could be different. The other bus drivers had spoiled me, and I was now accustomed to a life of luxury being picked up at 5:21 on the dot and getting home to watch my entertainment shows.

So, while I was waiting for the bus, I called the MBTA and made a formal complaint. I hated doing it because I personally like my regular bus driver, but things just couldn't continue as they were. If Deborah Norville had something to say, damn it, I was a gonna do everything in my power to make sure I got to hear it.

The next day, I decided to walk to the next stop while I waited, figuring it was a nice day and I might as well get a little exercise while my bus took its sweet time getting to me.

What seemed like an hour later, the bus pulled up to the stop, and I stepped on. The bus driver, looking at me like I had just insulted his momma, said, "What? You trying to throw me off?!"

My heart dropped to the floor. Oh Lord, I thought, he knew I had called the authorities on him! He thinks I'm trying to get him fired! Crap. It's a long walk to Boston.

"Uh ... uh ... what do you mean?!" I fired back. Since I couldn't feign sleep this time, I figured ignorance was the way to go.

"You're not at your usual stop! You trying to throw me off my schedule?" he laughed.

My heart started beating again. "Oh! Ha! What? A girl can't try out new stops?"

We continued our usual banter, and I took a seat. In my relief, I'd forgotten all about being upset that the driver was really late. Of course, when I got home and realized I'd missed The Insider yet again, I got all riled up and put in another formal complaint against the driver. I'm sure I'll be in great shape this summer with all the walking I'll be doing.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Never Underestimate the Power of the ...

So, the handicapped guy on the bus is really starting to creep me out. I know it’s not a very PC thing to say, and maybe not even legal, but the dude is giving me the heebee jeebies.
He’s tried talking to me once or twice before, and all I can do is smile and nod because I have no idea what he’s saying. Last week, he was smiling and pointing at me and then making drinking motions with his hand. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to ask me out for drinks or he found out about the flask of rum I keep in the pocket of my kate spade handbag. You know, for emergencies.

So a couple days ago, he gets on and decides to spread out along the row of seats in the front because we’re the only ones on the bus. That would’ve been fine, except he lies down facing me instead of the front of the bus. It reminded me of the time my sister and I were sleeping on the beach and looked up to find a row of about ten people on beach chairs all lined up facing us, backs turned to the ocean. Creeped us the fuck out.

I feigned sleep yet again—my only defense on the 441—and hoped that I would not wake up to a nightmare. Luckily, my flask was still there when I reached my stop.