Friday night a friend and I rode the MUNI from my house to another friend’s house. Armed with a bottle of wine and high spirits we believed (little did we know) we were prepared for our journey down the street. Halfway to our desired destination the bus jolted forward. I was standing in short-heeled boots. I always regret when I make the ambitious decision to attempt to go out in any sort of heels. I have no balance. I staggered forward, arms flailing. In that precarious moment when my fate was as yet undecided (sprawled out on ground versus violently snatching my life back into a semi-standing/squatting position), one of my hands connected with a seat’s edge. My hand clamped on the periphery like a ravenous snake onto its prey. My arm muscles flexed as my ever-so-weak arm attempted to pull my constantly-plumping body into a standing position. Success. I thanked the good lord in heaven I wasn’t more inebriated. I also praised the fact that my more intoxicated friend was sitting. The light turned red. And the bus sat in the middle of the street. The light turned green. The MUNI remained stationary. I noticed movement through the front windshield. It was a man. I walked a few steps forward, grasping the poles just in case the bus darted away again. I motioned to my friend. There was a man who appeared to be decently dressed leaning against the front of the bus. Just leaning. The light rotated red again. My friend stomped forward. She knocked on the glass.
“Excuse me,” she said, “I have places to be, I have alcohol to drink, please move!”
He stepped forward and circled, arms gyrating. He stared at us. She knocked on the glass again.
“Look, there’s another bus. Go get in front of that one!”
He slowly shook his head and extracted a cigarette from his pocket. He lit it and smoked. His limb lazily traveled to his mouth and then jerked away, hand flamboyantly overturned as he exhaled. The light fully rotated another time. The bus driver called the cops. My friend spanked the glass. She implored him to move, and then stridently beseeched the driver to open the door so she could move him herself. Keep in mind this girl is 5’2” at her tallest and this was a man, probably in his late 30’s/early 40’s, presumably relatively robust. In between her pleading him to move, me saying it probably wasn’t going to do any good, and the bus driver speaking with the cops, cars piled behind us, honked and swerved around as the light persisted in changing from green to yellow to red and back again. And again. The Problem glared in at us, like a monkey yearning for the exterior of the cage. He tossed his cigarette. And leaned against the bus’ face, arms crossed across chest, legs crossed, one calf caressing one shin. A few minutes later he walked forward and moved in such a way I have to assume was dancing. His legs kicked out at odd angles and his arms floated through the air, much like Elaine on Seinfeld.
The cops ultimately came. When I say cops I mean one female cop. She swaggered to The Problem, spoke with him, and entered the bus. She informed us that Crazy had said the bus driver wouldn’t allow him to enter the bus, thus he had stood in front of it thinking the driver would eventually permit his entrance. Bus Driver in turn informed Woman Cop that Crazy had dashed diagonally across the intersection and flung himself in front of the bus as it was penetrating the crosswalk. We had been stuck for nine minutes as Crazy had leaned against the bus, smoked, and danced. Woman Cop removed the man, liberated us, and we continued on our expedition with a story.