Friday, 25 June 2010

Commuter Chronicles - Twilight Zone

As usual, I took the bus this morning.  Everything was pretty standard – nothing out of the ordinary.


Some random guy hopped on at a downtown stop, sneaking through the back doors just as they were closing.  No big deal.  Nobody noticed.  People hop on and off all the time.  You can board at the back doors if you have a monthly pass.  If you don’t have a pass, you have to pay at the front door so the driver can give you a transfer as proof of purchase.

Sometimes security personnel (i.e., meter maids/hall monitors for buses) roam the routes and ask everyone for proof that they paid for their ride.  Some people, though, are quite the rebels.  Some people board the bus without… I can’t believe it… paying.  Shocking.  Why some people wouldn’t want to pay for the pure joy/convenience of riding the transit system, I’ll never know…

Anyway, the random guy hopped on.  He seemed normal enough.

Then the bus driver yelled into the mic: “Hey!  You there!  Who just jumped on at the back!  Let me see your pass!  You, in the grey sweatshirt!”

Woah.  Weird. 

And then, even weirder - the guy just ignored him.  Like he didn’t even hear it.  He just kept sitting and staring straight ahead.

How could he not hear it?  Even if he had headphones on (which he didn’t), he’d notice that

Drivers rarely use the mic.  They rarely even announce the stops like they’re supposed to - let alone yell at the passengers. (Except for one time when a driver serenaded us the whole way home – in both official languages!).

Everyone was just staring at the random guy.  Looking from guy to driver, driver to guy. 

Nothing happened.  Maybe he was deaf…?

At the next stop, the driver pulled over and walked back to approach the guy.  He leaned down to look him in the face.  “Let me see your pass," he said.  The guy never looked at him – just kept staring straight ahead.  "Hey!  Do you speak English?” 

No reaction.

“Fine. I’ll just call security!” the driver called as he made his way back to the front. 

What the eff?  What is going on here? 

The driver moved on to the next stop while on the phone.  When the bus stopped to let other passengers off, the random guy just very slowly stood up and casually stepped off the bus.

Huh?  He just gets to leave?  What is happening?

We all just looked at each other with that familiar 'what the heck just happened?' look on our faces.

That was it.


Every day, weirder and weirder.  That bus is a goddam twilight zone.


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