Tales From Public Transit

A happy, drunk bus passenger with a handlebar moustache.

A mist of hard booze filled the bus as Wayne sat down among us in the back.  He had a crazy smile, long hair and wiry grey handlebars sprouting from the corners of his mouth.  He wanted to make friends and talk to everyone about art and life. He searched the back of the bus for human contact, anyone who would listen to his stories.

The young men sitting around him were visibly embarrassed to acknowledge his presence.  Oh no, please don’t talk to me old man, I don’t want to be associated with some crazy downtown east side native cliche, they thought.  Some of them snickered and gave eachother knowing looks.

Wayne struck up a one way conversation with a young man sitting near me, who never looked him in his glazed over eyes and gave only one word answers.  I turned off my iPod to listen and watch the interaction.  I couldn’t help but laugh at how uncomfortable the young man was.  I could almost hear him saying over and over to himself, please make it stop!  Oh what these people must think of me!  This man is not my friend!

Dude, he just wants to tell you about when he used to draw as a child, and he started with mouths and then noses and then eyes and when he had fully learned each one, he put them all together and it was a masterpiece.  What kind of artist are you?   I mean, aside from putting together your day-glo nu-rave skater identity crisis outfits?

I laughed.  Wayne noticed me smiling, and told me I was gorgeous.  I thanked him.  He went on talking to the young man, stopping once in a while to flash his crazy smile full of big teeth.  Then he came and sat beside me.  Everyone immediately felt sorry for me, I could tell.  But I didn’t mind.

He asked me my name.  Then showed me a similar name tattooed on his hand.

“This was my sweetheart.  She didn’t drink.  She would try to help me and protect me when I was drinking.  One night when we were at a party in North Van, I got in a fight.  She tried to break it up and got stabbed in the heart.  Her parents wouldn’t let me come to her funeral.  So I stood far away on the hill and kissed her goodbye.  I’ll see her again one day.”

Then he got up to get off the bus and waved goodbye to me through the window.

The End

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