But there is one culture shift in my life I’m pretty damn fond of: I take the bus to and from work. To be specific, I take the sketchiest bus in Denver to and from work. Whenever I tell any coworkers, citizens, or neighbors that I ride the East Colfax bus line, the person gets really wide eyed, some gasp, and they simply ask, “and how is that going for you?”
Honestly, there are news articles about the dangers of riding this line. It makes headlines, guys. But what Denverites don’t seem to grasp is that I LIVE for this shit. Do you have any idea how nice meth-heads can be? How about the time limit that you can hold the gaze of a toothless old man before he starts screaming obscenities at you? Well, I DO know, and I’m creating a guide for you, so you can feel confident riding the 15 or 15L downtown Denver bus without getting stabbed!
Rob’s Guide to Riding Dangerous Busses:
The best way to safely ride a bus is to identify and stereotype every last person you can. Most people do this. This is why, when you get on any public transportation, everyone stares at you while you nervously glance around, desperately searching for an empty seat. They are simply judging the likelihood of you raping them and burning their body.
Here is my list of bus riders in order of harmless to Ferocious-Predator:
The Disabled/With-child Shrew
This docile creature wouldn’t hurt a fly. They spend most of their time making the bus driver open the handicap ramp and pissing everyone off by delaying their bus journey by another 30 seconds. Often seen staring aimlessly into the back 75% of the bus and talking without shame to the people sitting around the handicapped area.
Rob’s Danger Assessment: 1 out of 4 Bus Rape Points
The Bus Driver rules over their Bus-Kingdom with an iron fist. They demand their tax of “bus fare” and then allow automatic citizenship of the bus, regardless of meth use or blatant nudism. However, Bus Driver will not let you pass if you don’t pay taxes. In fact, I witnessed the Bus Driver’s tactics earlier this fall: He parks the bus. Citizen Wannabe complains and argues with some bullshit excuses for not having $2.25. Bus driver stays firm. Citizen Wannabe looks into the bus for help. No one moves, some people start glaring. Citizen Wannabe gets still more aggravated. A Crazy black lady screams at Citizen Wannabe. The bus population nods in agreement. Citizen Wannabe succumbs to the Bus Army and gets off the bus, though calls Bus Driver a “Fucking Asshole”. Crazy black lady screams, “it’s not him that’s the asshole, honey!” and turns to the rest of the bus with her arms in the air and yells, “AM I RIGHT?!” King Bus Driver rules all, and has special powers over the crazy black ladies.
Rob’s Danger Assessment: 1.5 out of 4 Bus Rape Points.
The Guy Who Thinks He Knows You
This is what I call the person who gets on the bus and pretends to (or somehow does) know you. It happened to me yesterday. I had been waiting at the bus stop for at least 15 minutes, and I wearily took my seat next to a small girl. All of the sudden, someone taps my shoulder. A bearded man was standing in the aisle, looking down at me. He says hi, and I return the greeting. And then he took a seat right behind me, just so 15 minutes later, he can tap my shoulder again and ask, “so did you activate your number yet?” What number? Who is this guy? I have all my numbers activated! I have one of the most unique faces on the planet, so I know there’s not another me running around. I quickly answer, “Nope! It’s taking me forever! It’s so hard not to have that number activated!” And I quickly throw in my iPod headphones.
This is more common among black people, WHO ALL SEEM TO KNOW EACH OTHER. It’s an anomaly to me. HOW?! All I know is, every time any two black people see each other on the bus, they’re asking about Thanksgiving, welfare, what sons have recently procreated, and I’m just at a loss. Do these people just ride the bus all day and know one another from bus conversations? Impossible. I’ve chalked them up to be “Guy’s that think they know each other” and neither ever realize it.
Rob’s Danger Assessment: 2.0 out of 4 Bus Rape Points. (they could follow you home!)
The Friendly Meth Head
This creature of the bus is charming in their own way with the genuine should-be-tooth-filled smile, their easygoing personality, and their odd assortment of clothing. Meth has voided their body of most necessary nutrients, but has provided them with uncanny strength and perseverance. Therein lies their danger. If they suddenly stand up abruptly, and scream that the giant spiders from next door are attacking them, the best thing to do for your own self defense is to stare out the window until they come back to consciousness. It would be terrible to tangle with your new meth-addicted friend and his imaginary spiders. (This happened to a guy on my bus and he literally started throwing everything in his possession at the wall. His phone shattered. It was shocking, sad, and adorable all at the same time.)
Rob’s Danger Assessment: 2.3 out of 4 Bus Rape Points.
The Crazy Black Lady/Man
The specimen of the Crazy Black Person is one of my favorites, and yet, one I fear talking to the most. It may seem racist, singling out black people as the source of the craziest, but I don’t mean it in a bad way in the slightest. On their best day, a crazy white person could never match the insanity that a Crazy Black Person achieves. I have always been jealous of black people’s natural charisma and ability to capture the attention of those around them. The best way white people know how to be crazy is to constantly void their bowels. The Crazy Black person is another species altogether. On my bus tonight, a HUGE black man in a bright red coat, dreadlocks down to his waist, and a brilliant blue beard spent 30 minutes berating a defiant ugly white girl who was about my age. Uglywhitegirl refused to move out of the handicapped seats for a Disabled/With-child Shrew stating that she “DOES NOT SIT IN THE BACK OF THE BUS.” I immediately pressed pause on my iPod so I could listen to the rest of the conversation. Crazy Black Man LET LOOSE. If there was a fault about this girl anywhere on her body or her attitude, he commented on it. (There were plenty). I realize I’m really going on about the description of the Crazy Black People, so here’s the best summary I have: They are like the Knights of the bus. They aren’t afraid to call you out if you are defying the Bus King, or if you are being a menace. And you can bet they aren’t afraid to fight you over it.
Rob’s Danger Assessment: 3.1 out of 4 Bus Rape Points.
This almighty and frightening creature offers almost no escape. They usually smell like every drug under the sun. They’re usually in an enraged state. Maybe their mom just cut them off. Maybe their dealer just got arrested. And maybe they just got done with a homeless drug rumble and didn’t come out on top. The latter is what happened to the CHARIZARD who accosted me on the bus. The guy was in his 20s and bleeding from the lip. His eye pupils were different sizes, and he smelled like socks that I’ve worn for 3 years dipped in marijuana-laced-vodka.
“YOU,” he said, “You gotta help me. This guy just punched the shit outta me! Let’s go beat him up!”
“Ah…. Well…. I’m not sure… I can?” I stammered.
“Nah, come’on, we can take’em!” he responded.
“No, you can! I promise! C’mon, let’s go! Look at my lip! I can’t let this go!”
I started to think desperately. This was trouble. I took a look at him again. He was wearing Ed Hardy, was bleeding avidly from his face, and the stench of drugs was just weeping out of his skin. Idea!
“Hey, new friend, I’m gay and I’m pretty sure if…” but the rest of my on-the-spot-excuse didn’t come out.
He turned away and cranked his neck and threw a look of disgust just for me. I relished it. It was my last surefire way to cement my safety from a drug-addled rumble. Thank god for bigotry.
This was the biggest and scariest of all the Bus-Riding creatures I’ve already encountered. If it wasn’t for my savage impulses for same-sex relations, I’m sure I would have been subject to far worse treatment by the bottom 10% of Denver.
I have no idea what happened to my new friend, The Non-Friendly Most-Likely-Homeless Drug Addict. I hope he found a utopia among the other CHARIZARD and they created some sort of Fight Club that no one knows about. You know, because of rules 1 & 2. (I’ve never seen Fight Club, but I think I’m quoting it correctly)
And that about wraps up the guide! I wish all of you the best in all of your future endeavors. And if you guys didn't get my obscure pokémon card references, you are sad and I pity you.