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Year Three, Day 261: The Belligerent Man, The Bus Driver, and the Woman in a Poncho

I just had a most entertaining bus ride!

I had just gotten of the Max at the Hollywood Transit Center. I was coming down the steps, when I saw the #75 to Milwaukie entering the parking lot. That was my transfer bus!  I didn't want to miss it, because at this time of day, it might be a 20 minute wait until the next one.

I had just come from a lovely sushi lunch with  my daughter and Baby Gracie at Cascades Station.

The plan was for me to teach my piano students and then return to Vancouver tonight. My daughter has much work to do at home and we all know that working at home with a 5 month old baby is a bit of an oxymoron!

Anyway, I hurried down the stairs, being very mindful. The steps were slippery in the Portland drizzle. Slipping and falling would kind of put a cramp in my day.

I slowed down when I noticed there was a long line of passengers waiting to board. At the end of the line was an older, distinguished looking gentleman.  He was wearing a long overcoat and hat.  He nodded at me.  I smiled and got in line behind him. Usually wheelchair passengers board first, so the driver can put down the ramp. But I guessed he was pretty mobile and just using it as a walker. On top of his wheelchair was a laptop and a sack containing what looked like his lunch. He was wearing big headphones underneath his hat.  As he boarded, I noticed him talking to the driver. I thought they were exchanging pleasantries, until his voice got louder and louder.  I heard the bus driver say she was not that familiar with this side of town.  I eased up closer.

"Where are you going?" I asked. (I am MOST familiar with this side of town.  I have an internal GPS!)

He turned and looked at me.

"What is the name of that large park nearby?"

"Laurelhurst Park?" I suggested.

"Yes! And what street is it on?"

"Stark", I said confidently.

He glared at the bus driver.

"Kindly tell me when to get off", he instructed her.

She glared back.

"I might be busy driving", she said. "The bus computer will announce the stop and it will be on the screen".

He told her he was hard of hearing and wearing headphones. 

I told him I would be happy to help him debus at his stop.

He seemed quite perturbed.  He told the bus driver not to drive off until he was seated. I relayed the info to her.

For the next 10 minutes until we reached his stop, he was quite antagonistic.  He kept speaking into his phone. He described the bus driver as "female, overweight and rude".

There was a middle aged woman sitting opposite me. I had complimented her on her camo-waterproof poncho.  She was taking none of this man's abusive talk.

She told him straight away that he should not make judgments about the driver's appearance.

"And the driver did nothing wrong", she stated.

I felt my antenna come up as their banter became a bit heated. They even entered the realm of God, prayer, Christianity, Islam, Jesus, and Ishmael.

I sat there watching warily.  The interesting thing is that neither one of them seemed to lose their cool. I laughed a few times because they were quite entertaining.

"You two are funny", I commented.

When I looked at the gentleman, he smiled at me. His eyes were twinkling. He was enjoying himself!

I just wish he hadn't been so verbally abusive.

Soon we approached his stop. I told him gently that this was his stop. He told the lady in the poncho that he was reporting her and the bus driver.  But as he stood up, he looked at me and reached out his hand.

"Bless you", he said.

"You too", I smiled. "Stay out of trouble!"

As he approached the driver, she told him she had already filed a complaint against him.

"I beg your pardon?" he asked, stopping his descent.

"Call 238-RIDE", she said.

He stepped off the bus.

We all laughed nervously.

"I wonder if he is recently disabled to have such a chip on his shoulder?" I asked.

"I have run into him on bus routes for over five years", said the driver, smiling at me in her rear view mirror.

"I wonder if he will really file a complaint?" I asked.

"He does every time", she said. "I have learned to report him first."

I looked at poncho lady.

"So sad", I shook my head. "He obviously enjoyed the attention.  But I would have talked to him anyway, if he was lonely. There was no need for him to be so hostile".

"I have a friend who acts just like him", said poncho woman. She had pulled out a burrito from her bag and was munching thoughtfully.  "She complains about everything!"

My stop came up. I wished the bus driver and poncho woman a wonderful day.  As I stepped off the bus, I felt a warm rush of warmth.

I am curious about the belligerent man. I wonder about his home life. About his past.

And I wonder what lesson for me is here?  These little events stand out in my mind like still shots.  They are out of my ordinary routine.  And I take notice.  I do know I am proud of myself for not sinking to hostile reaction.  Actually I am proud of the entire bus for how he was handled. And that warm handshake from him as he exited warmed my heart.

Recently I mentioned to my daughter that sometimes when people are cranky, especially older people, it is because they are not feeling well.  It helps us to feel compassion and not over react if we consider where they are coming from.

It does not always help us from getting heart. But a little compassion goes a long way.

That is my blog for today.  I am off to teach piano to my wonderful students. And then back to spend time with my granddaughter, who I never get enough of!

Hopefully, I am not boring you, my reader with her pictures!

The picture below is with Grace visiting me at the church where I teach. She loves listening to my piano students!

Talk to you tomorrow.



P.S. I will add my hooping video tonight. I am enjoying night hooping. I think I am going to find some glow in the dark material to make it more interesting to watch!


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