When the BP building shall go up for sale, and twin Megabuses depart at once, one to the East and one to the West, and the King of the Seagulls alights atop the head of Moses Cleaveland and shits on his face, these shall constitute the sign you have been waiting for.
I waited 40 minutes for a bus in the densest municipality between new York and Chicago. God bless America!
It’s 90 degrees out. I’m at the bus stop in front of the Cedar Estates. The man sitting next to me is smoking a swisher sweet and talking to a bootlegger on speakerphone. “Hey, this the CD and movie man?” A boy and girl, probably about 13, come sit down - the girl is eating blue Now & Laters, explaining to the boy how you can get to the west side. “Take any of these buses. You can get there one of two ways from downtown.”
When I’m on Public Square I see my ex-boyfriend’s best friend from childhood. He doesn’t know me, but I see him every day at this time, walking towards Tower City, where he catches the westbound Rapid. He’s wearing pressed pants and a turquoise button-down shirt. I wonder when’s the last time he had a vacation, or got laid.
At Edgewater Park I see a man setting up traffic cones so his daughter or girlfriend, I can’t tell which, can practice her maneuverability test. She’s driving an early 90s era Pontiac Bonneville. Good luck!
Rock and/or roll headphoning prevented noticing the lanky, 6’6” Jack White lookalike sitting in the seat next to me. “That’s wonderful,” boomed a baritone accompanied by a vigorous clapping which bade everyone notice his exit at the West Side Market, brushed away by his immediate reentry onto the bus.
All seats taken in that short instant, he was forced to stand, sticking out of his suspendered red shorts, the butt-end of his umbrella, dolled up like one of those cheap, faux-jewel encrusted swords Sea World used to hawk, complemented with a thin stack of fake money in a plastic bag that was nearly falling out of his back pocket.
Poker-faced chuckling has a downside, as the dude looked a smidgen out of it. I hope he got where he was going.
Flipping through the radio dial in the car I hear a ticket giveaway for Skid Row and “Round and Round” by Ratt on the next station, and Duran Duran on the one after that…
Amidst all the various & sundry fellow public transportationistas today were two white dudes in their early 20s bro-ing it up as if mildly tipsy minus the stench, one sporting a glorious, just-washed mullet stringy with greasy product, an artifact that conjures up the low-rent thugs of a 1980s Steven Seagal kick-em-up.
1. On the red line: a woman talking into her cell phone about how they didn’t pay her enough to degrease the kitchen walls so she didn’t do a very good job. “I didn’t like going up and down them big ladders.” She was at least 65. She had a cane. They paid her $50. “I went to the pulmonary doctor yesterday,” she said. “My carbon level at least 5. Shouldn’t be, I only got money to smoke 4 or 5 cigarettes a day anymore. I mean I’d like to buy something for my house, or some fruit, or take a trip. And I mean a real trip, not like to Kentucky or Indiana. I’d like to go somewhere, just once.”
2. People rowing in the Cuyahoga.
3. The bus driver had lost his standard issue operator ID nameplate and by the looks of it, his kid had made him a new one.
4. A mob of teenagers at Euclid Heights and Coventry. It only takes a second for some trash talk to roll over into a full-on street fight, right in the middle of the intersection.
5. Michael Stanley Superstar.
Big Boy, Valley View, 6 pm on a Friday. This is the kind of place that makes it hard for me to believe I live in the greatest country in the world.