Friday, July 28, 2006

Scenes From The Bus & Train

Racing down the carpool lane, gripping one of the overhead bars for balance, I stared out the window at the city blanketed in the eerie haze of the marine layer. Reading, holding a book with one hand, is not ideal and, in any event, it is nice to be still and stare out a window sometimes.

A small white economy car paralleled us for as long as it could before it got ensnared by the traffic. Through the windows, I could see a woman in the drivers seat and a baby strapped into the car seat in the back. The windows of the car were rolled up except for a rear window that was slightly cracked.

Before our bus proceeded along the unimpeded lane reserved for those willing to share transportation in this lone ranger society, the woman in the small white economy car lit a cigarette.

I wondered what would become of that child.

***

Sitting in an empty seat, leaving an empty seat next to you, is an invitation for a crazy to sit next to you and yackety yack. A rough looking white guy in dark shades sat next to me on the train today and was feeling chatty. By the time 10 minutes had elapsed and we arrived at his stop, I learned he used to be in the military, was discharged because he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, is hooked on meth, was still trying to understand why his wife left him and was hoping the GI bill would help him pull his way out of the morass.

War is hell.

21 Comments:

At 8:40 AM, July 28, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

Don't get me going on that shit!!!! Our middle-boy was exposed to second-hand smoke through his grandfater (my father-in-law). This guy has everyone beliving that he's the king-shit, and if something runs contrary to his opinion, it's not worth considering. His opinion is, second-hand smoke doesn't hurt anyone, and if you think it does, you're just a whiner who just wants some attention by running contrary to his opinion.

He's a big shot where he works, so he's not used to people second guessing him. (Just like any large corporation, it's an environment where the yes-men rise to the top.)

My father-in-law poisoned our middle son with his second-hand smoke to the extent that our son has had to go to countless emergency room visits for asthma-related breathing. He's sucked air so hard, you could see his breast-bone and collar-bone; that's how bad it is when we take him to the E.R.

Our oldest son was not affected nearly as much by his grandfather's second-hand smoke, so my father-in-law's opinion is, there must be something else bothering the boy who's deeply affected by it - it couldn't be "the master's" cigarettes.

He's an asshole.

 
At 10:21 AM, July 28, 2006 , Blogger Chris said...

I smoked for a lotta years. My simple guidelines were... If I'm in my house and you don't like me smoking, feel free to step outside. If I'm in your house, I will NOT smoke unless I see an ashtray with a cigarette butt already in it.

By the time I quit smoking just over a year ago, I was to the point where the only place I'd even think of smoking indoors was at a bar - I wouldn't even smoke in my own house. Now I'm not even sure if I'd smoke in a bar any more... It's just bad joo-joo.

Smokers simply aren't as aware of stinky second-hand smoke as non-smokers are, which may explain a few social faux pas, but does not excuse smoking in a car with a child. Bad bad bad.

I'm happy I quit. Hard thing to do, but worth it.

 
At 10:30 AM, July 28, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

It took me years to quit and even longer to give up "social smoking" but I haven't touched a cigarette in over a year and haven't looked back.

 
At 6:40 PM, July 28, 2006 , Blogger Mr. Wilson said...

fuck that...smoking is pleasurable and the woman in the little economy car is probably better for having found a small semi-affordable way to do something pleasurable for herself.

what you failed to notice was the mother in the mini-van who was playing educational CD's with her tyke strapped into the uber-carseat on the way to ballet on piano lessons or whatever. so out of touch is this woman with her nazi like attention to having perfect kids that she never "hears" them just like she never "hears" the desperate cries from within for her to do something pleasurable for herself and just relax.

that is the kid i wonder about...well not really...i think i know exactly how that kid turns out. fuck.

(i must be anxious about something, because i swear i am being contradictory just for the sake of it...)

anyway, i wanted an entire separate journal about riding mass transit in LA. i bet we can get it optioned for a documentary /reality television show. we can narrate over it like sex in the city or something. do it! do it! do it!

kacy

 
At 6:45 PM, July 28, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

That is a really cool idea. Maybe I'll pitch it to the producers at work.

 
At 7:14 PM, July 28, 2006 , Blogger The State Of . . . said...

I spent the first 12 years of my life inhaling the second hand smoke of the people that taught me what love is--my grandmother and my aunt.

II, I can't even picture you smoking. I don't think I know you very well. You're pretty nutty. :-)

I'll smoke if I'm drunk as fuck (like last nite). Luckily, I gave up my severe weed addiction. :-)

 
At 8:18 AM, July 29, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, I rode the bus all the time. They have a great bus system, and that's where I learned that whenever the state cut the budget to COPH (Central Ohio Psychiatric Hospital), COPH would give monthly, all access passes to the harmless psych patients, and they'd be forced to ride the busses all day long.

I sat beside people who've shit their pants, some who saw "orange birds" all the time, and others who were self-medicating with a bottle inside a brown paper bag, and some who were a combination, and then some.

It was a strange experienc, but one that led me to realize there's more to the world than the "Little pink houses for you and me," I grew up with in my small town.

 
At 1:12 PM, July 31, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

Speaking of More Ass, what's Rove up to these days. Seven days from now, I'll be drinking Mai Tai's on the beach in Maui.

My parents quit smoking round the time is way 14 years old or so, so I had plenty of second hand smoke to enjoy.

Never took up smoking. I have a Humidor with some Ceegars in there, but that is only for my Brother to enjoy when he swings by for a visit.

 
At 11:27 AM, August 02, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

The great thing about NYC mass transit is that it is so popular that you don't really notice the crazies so much; or maybe they just blend in because we're all slightly deranged.

:-), StS

 
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