At the end of Kaplan Street, we approached Gorman Street where there is a traffic light and the bus turns left, and the driver pulled into the right lane instead of into the left turning lane. I've mentioned before that the front of the buses always hit the asphalt and scrape a little ways on it while turning this corner, so the drivers tend to take it very, very slowly to minimize both the impact when it hits, as well as any potential damage as it scrapes the ground for a few seconds.
So, I thought, "Oh I guess he's going to make a very wide left turn so as to try to avoid that front end banging and dragging." We were waiting for the light to turn green, and I kept looking to the left of the bus to see if some car was going to pull up in that left turn lane.
The light turned green, the bus rolled forward, and then the driver turned right. This was one of those situations where everyone was just so stunned that they were left totally speechless, immediately trying to make sense of what had just happened. Maybe there's a road block on Gorman. Maybe the bus is about to run out of gas and we're heading for the nearest gas station. Maybe the bus driver is sick or needs desperately to use a bathroom.
All of a sudden on Gorman, before we reached the Avent Ferry Road intersection, the driver just stopped the bus in the middle of the road. He didn't pull over to the side, but just stopped right there in the middle of the one-lane street. He sat there for about 15 seconds, when all of a sudden from the very rear of the bus Diarrhea-of-the-Mouth, who I didn't even know was back there, and as she is predisposed to do, roared, "IS SOMETHING WRONG, MR. BUS DRIVER?"
"No. I just made a wrong turn," he replied a little distraught. Then he got on the two-way radio and breaker-breaker-one-nined, told them what he had done, and then asked if he could just turn around. The whole thing was just bizarre. Wrong turn. Asking to turn around. I mean, could the dispatcher really say no??? What are the other viable options? No, I'm sorry, you can't. Just keep going the wrong way. Take them to the coast for all we care.
This got Diarrhea-of-the-Mouth a-going, and she moved up to the front of the bus to console the driver. She said, "Don't feel bad," as he began rolling forward again, heading toward the shopping center on the other side of Avent Ferry Road where he could turn the huge machine around.
"I do so many different routes up in here, I just got confused about where to turn. I don't feel bad. As long as I'm keeping you safe, then everything's fine," he said.
From that point on, Diarrhea-of-the-Mouth talked non-stop the entire rest of the route, which basically says things were back to normal. I'm still kind of flabbergasted that she was in the back of the bus all that time, but hadn't spoken until "the incident." Of course, she was back there alone, so I guess there really wasn't anybody with whom to talk. But I digress...
Again to the bus driver, she asked, "Did you hear on the news this weekend what happened out there at that fort? Out in Texas at that... Fort Hope. Not Hope... Hood. Yeah, Fort Hood. Did you hear about that?"
"Yes," the driver said.
"And did you hear the update this morning? They said that guy was Muslim. Like nobody know he was Muslim with a name like he got. They say he was on the other side. That he part of the group over there in the mid-east. When it came on the news last week I knew he was part of that 'cause his name."
Truly, all of that should have been in caps, because missy was talking in her loud, loud voice during all of it. The only thing worse than being ignorant is being loud and ignorant.
At the next stop, Li'l Dino got on, and in another first, she had her daughter with her. She looked to be somewhere in the 18-21 year old range, and I loved watching her listen to Diarrhea-of-the-Mouth continue to showcase her ignorance: "I can't believe they let him serve in the military. They say he was on the other side for 13 years. They should never let him join the service with a name like that."
Little Li'l Dino (that's what I'm going to call the daughter) couldn't hold back any more and started to challenge her saying, "He's an American. You can't just not let him join the military. You can't discriminate against people because of their name and their religion. He's an American."
"Well, I wouldn't a let him join," she answered emphatically, and Little Li'l Dino just started laughing as did some of the surrounding people. When she got off the bus, everyone fell out and just shook their heads in disbelief to what they'd just witnessed.
Work was essentially uneventful today, so that's all I'm going to say about it. I have another short buscapade on the ride home to share, and then want to capture highlights of Salon V, which I attended later in the evening.
I caught the 5:30 bus home, and I took the seat right behind Temporary Alice. (You may remember that she's the older lady who is a contracted employee to the DOT and had the word "Temporary" stamped on her badge in red letters at the time of her naming.)
The bus got to the stop on Method Road near Western Boulevard, where last Friday this same driver ran into the convenience store long enough for me to make the snarky observation: "Coming back with not even as much as a drink, it was obvious that he just had to take a big, long dump."
He got off the bus and walked toward the Circle K and I thought, "Here we go again," as I leaned forward resting my chin on the back of Temporary Alice's seat.
She was sitting in the right seat of the two in front of me and facing in toward the middle of the bus, and I was resting my chin on the back of the left seat attached to hers, so she was looking right at me. And she spoke. "It's been a long day."
"Yes, it has," I agreed, and then said, "I'm ready to get home, but it looks like we're going to be here a little while again. This man loves to stop in this store."
"He's using the bathroom," she said. "The bathrooms down at Moore Square (where the bus station is at which this route originates) are NASTY," she said with disgust, and then repeated even more emphatically, "Pure T NASTY. I don't blame him for using the bathroom here. You notice he doesn't come out with anything, so he's not in there to buy anything," she offered as more evidence in her case.
So while we waited, Temporary Alice transformed herself into Chatty Cathy, and after answering her question about where I worked and what I did, she said, "I had a temporary job [Pattern!] over at State working as an executive assistant, just answering the phones and stuff. But one time the boss gave me this speech he was gonna give and he asked me to take a look at it and give him some feedback on it. I made some changes, and after he delivered it, he came back and said that people really liked it. And that he appreciated it. And I said, 'I ain't got no education, but I'm glad I could help you out.'"
"We don't need no education..." ~Just Another Brick on the Wall~
Tonight was Salon V and we met at The Borough, which was a nice change of venue. Etta had to cancel at the last minute, which we all hated to see happen. Being the troopers that we are though, we carried on. Tonight's agenda consisted of (with notes and highlights scattered throughout):
- Salon IV Home Work (Your personal theme, your preferred appositive)
My sense, once it was all said and done, was that Anna is really the only one totally comfortable in her theme and her appositive. I didn't capture them. I offered a weak theme song of, "Don't Rain on my Parade," mostly because I like the thought of bursting through a marina with my suitcases in tow, storming toward a tug boat, and eventually belting out into the oncoming wind, "Hey Mr. Arnstein, here I am!" Perhaps my appositive should be, "John Martin, Barbra lover."
- "A home haunted by the ghost of his parents' bad marriage"
- Utne Reader's book on Salons
Anna recently read a book about the history of Salons, and she shared these salient points about them:
- According to the good folks from Utne (no matter how you pronounce it), historically salons were run by women of the social margin: those who were "divorced, Jewish, foreign, poor, overeducated, lesbian, or known for taking a lover or offending a royal personage."
- Similarly, invitees to the best salons were inhabitants of the fringe: artists, homosexuals, political exiles, and other peculiar undesirables such as writers (!), hippies, bluebloods, and deadbeats.
- The modern salonniere must be "organized, socially savvy, and energetic, with a healthy ego, a number of friends, and plenty of entertaining ideas."
- Clearly, we are staying true to our forebearers. The silver thread of the outsider perspective runneth through our bawdy, geeky, pun-loving proceedings. Oh yeah.
- Also, there was the quote emphasizing the value of disagreement and importance that a salonist(a) be able to relax and enjoy a good debate: "Gatherings at which feelings are hurt are not salons, they're tea parties."
- And the stated goal of Toronto's storied book club/salon, the Quill & Swill, which aims to "re-create the late-night, booze-fueled, rambling philosophical discussions that used to erupt at university...but with better food."
- Teaching Yoga—Kim's experience
It went very well, and Kim realized that teaching Yoga involves learning to live with everyone staring at your ass.
- Where we live (with particular interest in Brad's sunroom)
John agreed to put a Google map into Salon Entelechy, on which we can each place a virtual pin indicating where we live. John did not share that he isn't actually positive that this can even be done, but it sounds so like it should be possible that everyone went with it.
- Math in the public schools—a joke
John shared a joke whose themes included education and religion, and whose punch line became injected in several other conversation points during the evening. I like to think of it as what we refer to in "the biz" as: "Reusable content. Write once. Use many." Pictorially that would be represented as (hover for close caption):
- Songs associated with the endings of relationships
This agenda item lead to a very fun discussion about sad songs, and we decided to create a playlist in Salon Entelechy with everybody's entries in it. Some of the songs mentioned included, "I Will Always Love You," "For My Broken Heart," "Furnace Room Lullaby," "Don't Forget Me," "Cold Day in July," "Painted from Memory," "The Promise," "A Bad Goodbye," "One More Night," "A Comet Appears," "Sad Professor," and "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room."
I'm not sure if it was during this agenda item or not that Brad made this profound declaration: "Whenever I meet someone who wants to be self-actualized, I just want to hug them before the world kicks the shit out of them." Awwww, hun.
- Wedding Rings: A modeling
No hand models were available, so everyone just showed their rings on their own hands, or in their own hands if they didn't want to put theirs on. (Three of the five of us are divorced.)
- Wedding Photos: A viewing
This item lead to hilarious stories of days gone by, friendships forged, poles used and reused, numbers of wedding guests, various levels of formality, cakes gashed, garters fought over, botched photos, and inept photographers.
- Spoken sentences that can't be written
This is an example of a sentence that cannot be written:
- The philosophical and ethical considerations of stubble
This discussion was around changing peoples' features in digital pictures with tools like Photoshop.
- Sainthood: If you were the saint of something, what would it be?
We carried this agenda item forward in honor of Etta's absence, as she was the one who put it forth (even though, I put it twelfth—Badumpbump, we're back again on the 30th, folks!)
In a sign of aging Salon members, I put this item on the agenda so long ago (in early September), leaving off the exact thing about it that I wanted to discuss, and I couldn't remember it tonight. It was something about some rhetorical device or part of speech or something like that, that I didn't think worked, but which my boss thought depended on whether or not you thought ghosts were "real." It's just the kind of item I trust this group to give me some insight into, so it's a real shame I couldn't recall what it was about.
Other scribblings that I see in my notes suggesting other intellectually pressing agenda items for the next meeting:
- What's your genre?
- Are Northerners "easier"?