Just another day on the IRT.

(This post title is from a movie that I’ve heard of but never saw before, Just Another Girl On The IRT.)

Growing up in New York City, I’m quite familiar with traveling on an intricate public transportation system. Its rapid transit system is one of the oldest & the largest in the world, carrying millions of passengers daily. And a few of those passengers are quite colorful. For instance, a pole dancer graced riders with a performance (YouTube video) earlier this year. There are also musicians playing everything from African drums to mariachi instruments to steel pan drums and everything in between. There are dancers doing everything from break-dancing to acrobatics, self-proclaimed prophets & preachers proclaiming that the end is quite near, and even sub-human pieces of shit jerking off in front of and/or on people people who masturbate and/or expose themselves to innocent passengers.

In less-developed nations, some people ride with live animals on certain modes of transportation. Transportation in these countries is already tricky because of overcrowding with people sometimes sitting on top of each other, so if you add a few chickens to the mix, public transportation is one hell of a ride in these countries too.

Coming from a major city, and having been to a few different countries ranging from extremely wealthy with efficient modes of transportation to less-developed with a van that comes on time if you’re lucky, I’ve seen & experienced a range of interesting rides. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see some ridiculous shit interesting stuff on public transportation over here. Here are a few examples:

– A man got on the bus with his pit-bull. It wasn’t a service dog; it was just a man with no disabilities bringing his pet pit-bull on the bus with no objections from the bus driver. He was nonchalant about it and (thankfully) had it on a leash, but I wasn’t too happy about them sitting across from me. It was a crowded bus so I couldn’t move elsewhere. 😐

– A man got on the bus and began drinking alcohol & smoking marijuana; a few passengers moved away, including me, and I reported him to the bus driver and he got off 2 stops later. That’s right – I snitch.

– One man in a nearby neighborhood is notorious for getting on a certain bus or buses drunk, first thing in the morning, during daily rush hour. Luckily, I’ve only been graced with his presence once. He likes talking about Babylon & Jamaica, and he loves cursing in front of young children on the way to school.

Babylon drunk.
This 'diamond in the drunk' said that he'd fight everyone in Babylon... during morning rush hour no less.

– Yet another man got on the bus with his young daughter… and drank a big can of beer.

Drinking beer on the bus with his kid: totally appropriate.

Drinking alcohol on public transportation has been banned in a few places in England, but clearly some people don’t care.

– A man was being verbally aggressive on a bus one weekend as I was heading to my friends’ house. The bus driver refused to move from the bus stop until or unless the man got off of the bus, which is understandable because there are plenty of signs that explicitly state that any form of abuse against public transportation workers is not tolerated. I got annoyed along with a few other people, told the man I had somewhere to be at a certain time, and to either pay the fare & leave the driver alone or get off of the bus because he was inconveniencing everyone. After extra uproar from other passengers, he finally got off. (Jerk.)

– The singing bus driver during morning rush hour. He was hysterical. He sang old-time gospel songs with an operatic voice. I was on his bus twice. At the end of the route, the passengers gave him a round of applause. I laughed my ass off. (I don’t even speak in the morning, so he had to be hilarious for me to laugh that early.)

– The children. Ahhhh yes, the wonderful cherubs. The screaming babies & crying toddlers in their gargantuan carriages [better known as pram(s)], and temper-tantrum-throwing children are an absolute delight during morning & evening rush hour.

Twirling kid.
This cherub twirled around the pole on a crowded bus while whining loudly. His mother sat next to me, oh joy.
Another darling little cherub, standing on the seat with Mother Dear's permission (sitting next to her).
Temper tantrum.
This cherub threw himself on the floor, and Mother Dear had to drag him off of the bus.

– A former expatriate & friend of mine, who was studying here but has now repatriated, got into a physical fight with a drunk woman on the bus. The drunken dame heard her accent, asked her where she was from and upon hearing the answer, began name calling & cursing. In spite of this, my friend was calm and tried staying away from Dame Drunk-A-Lot. Dame Drunk-A-Lot kept it up, along with purposely stepping on her foot 3 times… and after the 3rd time, my friend slapped her in the face.

What are your colorful stories in your part of the world? If you’re an expatriate, what are some differences that you’ve noticed between public transportation in your home country and your current country? Do you have public transportation stories and if so, are they more colorful in your home country or your current country, or are the stories just as colorful in different countries?

Life savers.
Life savers.
Posted in blogging, expatriate, work/career

Crack & Fairy.

“I’m the one you’re looking for because I’m the one that called”, I said, walking behind the police officer when he walked past me.

Police officer, you ask? Why are the police involved in this story? Because despite living a pretty uneventful life, something pops up every once in a while that changes it for a moment.

It was Friday, about 2 weeks ago. I’d been too lazy to make lunch for work, so my co-worker/team member, whom I’ll refer to as D from now on, asked if I wanted anything from outside. I said “You know what? I need to take a walk. I’ve sat in this office all day and I need some fresh air, so lemme walk with you.” She didn’t know what she wanted either and had to buy something in a particular store, so that gave me an excuse to spend more time outside. As I didn’t have to see any kids that day, I spent most of the day doing paperwork, sucking in the stagnant & boring air in the office. Don’t get me wrong, my team members are quite entertaining and we get along pretty well. But it was time for a break.

D and I left the office, walking & talking – I about my quick trip home to tie up some loose ends and take a quick mental break, and she about her weekend plans. We wound up getting something to eat at Subway, which is likely the healthiest choice available (outside of bringing lunch from home and going to the local supermarket) among all the chicken & chips shops, McDonald’s, Burger King & KFC franchises in the ‘hood. D had a craving for something sweet to snack on, so we walked a few doors down to what I call a corner store/bodega in my hometown. She got me a bag of Doritos and was deciding what candy bar to get for herself when the foolishness began.

As we stood at the counter whilst D looked at the candy bars, the store owner’s voice quickly rose as he said “Oi! Put that down!” D is very good at being aware of surroundings because she said “(Spinster), look.” She motioned for me to turn around.

Well what do we have here. A man and a woman came into the store trying to steal. One of the items being stolen was….. wait for it…..

A bottle of fabric softener. Fairy.

Here the hell we go. 😐

He and the woman got caught. I’m not sure what she tried to steal, but whatever it was, she likely dropped it and quickly disappeared out of the store. The store owner repeated the command to return Fairy & what was a Brillo pad (I can’t make this stuff up) and after a few repeats, the man, who we found out was a crackhead (I’ll refer to him as Crack), angrily walked up to the counter and tried being defiant by not giving the stuff back right away. Instead, Crack cursed the owner in Jamaican patois, as if the store owner was stealing from him.

Bumbaclaat blah blah….. Rassclaat blah blah…..

D is watching all of this while I mumbled under my breath: “Sigh. Here we f—ing go. Is all of this really necessary? Does (Crack) really have to be so loud? He needs to give the shit back.” D, ever the quiet observer, was listening to & laughing at what I was saying while keeping an eye on Crack. Then suddenly as I kept mumbling I hear

(Spinster)!!! Move! Watch out!

I turned around and wouldn’t you know it, Crack had grabbed a bottle of wine a few feet away from us, went toward the store counter, and menaced the store owner, going as far as to try to get over the counter to smash him over the head.

She didn’t have to tell me twice. I quickly made my way to the back of the store right along with the other store customers. 😐

I can’t remember much else in the following few seconds because I was dialing 999, but I think a couple of workers in the store attempted to stop the man from going over the counter (they succeeded) and I said “I’m calling the police.” D said “Good idea” while I dialed. I described everything we saw, including Crack’s appearance. The operator gave me a reference code and said “The police will be there in 12 minutes.” 12 minutes seemed quite long, but I said okay. It actually didn’t take that long; a police car arrived less than 5 minutes later.

We didn’t want to wait 12 minutes; however, before we left, D made sure that the store owner was alright. We came to find out that Crack has stolen/attempted stealing from the store many times before and “We’ve beat him many times but he still comes back!”. Yes….. Crack is so wack that he’s had his ass beat in that store before, yet still comes back for more.

What a shame.
"Crack is wack." (What a shame.)

(picture from http://shavarross.com)

When the police car came, we were leaving the store since we thought it’d take 12 minutes. A police officer got out of the car. “I’m the one you’re looking for because I’m the one that called”, I said, walking behind the officer when he walked past me. I briefly ran down what happened, he thanked me, and we walked back to our office.

When we got back I said to my other co-workers “You won’t believe what just happened with us.” We told the story and one of my cheeky co-workers said

Maybe he needed Fairy to cut the crack.

Stick a fork in us because we were done.

Moral of the story: Life happens when you least expect it. Oh, and in the wise words of my aunt J:

Don’t commit any crime in front of me because I’m telling. (That’s right, I “snitch”. I’m not going to jail or prison for anyone.)