October 7, 2012

Do you enjoy public transportation? I do.

The other day, after a long day of working, I got on a bus to go home and was reminded of one of my favorite realities- 

I'm never the strangest person on the bus.


Especially that evening. Let's go over the events of this fateful ride.

As I steppped on to the bus, the two people in line ahead of me began arguing, loudly, in Hebrew. From what I could gather, the woman in front of me was angry at the gentleman in front of her for talking on the phone and not being ready with his bus fare. They argued, holding up the line.

I paid my fare, and followed the arguing pair down the aisle. I chose a seat next to a handsome young man who I learned was from Johannesburg. He and I just stared and listened to the argument happening nearby, which had, by this time, captured the attention of the whole bus, and was continuing to escalate.

Around this time I took notice of a nervous-looking young man who was asking anyone who would listen "Are we in Bat Yam yet?" We were nowhere near Bat Yam. We were still in downtown Tel Aviv. Idiot.

Next, I noticed another man who was either mentally disabled or REALLLLY high/drunk who was walking through the bus mumbling (in Hebrew, but I could still detect the slurring) at passengers and holding up a picture of a baby. I don't know what he was after, but no one seemed interested in helping/conversing with him about this baby. He came up to me and my South African friend, and we politely let him know he needed to move on. 

The arguing duo was still at it, and other passengers were becoming involved. Also, I noticed there was a woman in the back of the bus videotaping the ruckus. 

Now, Nervous Traveller came up to me. He asked me if we were in Bat Yam yet. I told him no, this is still Tel Aviv. He asked what street we were on, while consulting a map. I answered him, and then tried to be as polite as possible while letting him know that his map was of Haifa, so it probably wasn't going to be much help. He continued to study the map, and wipe the nervous sweat from his brow. Then, he started doing something even more strange- wiping down every surface on the bus with his (already dirty) handkerchief. I'm so serious. The handrails, the windows, the doors, the buttons. I was surprised he didn't try cleaning any other passengers.

As my neighbor and I quietly discussed how strange this bus ride had become we heard a loud noise (louder than the arguing that was still going on) from the rear. I turned to see the man with the baby photo had collapsed, face-first, onto the floor of the bus. People started yelling, the arguing couple stopped yelling at each other, and started yelling at the bus driver to help, and that's when I realized....my stop had arrived. I think that even if my house was still a few stops away I would have probably gotten off the bus anyway, but it was legitimately my time to exit stage left.

I said goodbye to my seat partner, wished him good luck, and got the hell outta dodge.

Never a dull moment.