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Volume XIII: Taking The Local

Posted by aquaman on April 09, 2006.


Friday night I set sail for home later than usual, missing the express buses I regularly take for granted (and complain about mightily). There should be a "Warning! This bus makes frequent stops" sticker on the back.

Actually, maybe there is. I never looked.

So, in honor of my far-too-extended journey, today we'll open with a far-too-extended intro. In honor of the superfluous stops -- really, does every corner in Newark need to double as a bus stop? -- we'll touch on several issues worth mentioning, but not worthy of their own post.

•On an absolutely packed bus, more cramped than the bumper-to-bumper traffic in which we were stuck, my only solace was a little TV on my little iPod. Zoning in and out through a disappointingly mediocre episode of The Simpsons, I didn't bother click-wheeling through the commercials. Then came the one question I didn't want to hear -- "Are You Gellin'?" Seeing that ad in traffic, with an army of sweaty, boring people invading my personal space, might just be the worst 30 seconds of my commuting career.

•A.J. Soprano tried to buy a gun from the snack shop at South Mountain Arena, where my commute initiates each morning. I didn't know about this snack shop, but I agree with Bobby "Bacala" Baccilieri: A.J. should instead participate in the Golden Gloves youth boxing tournament.

•Overhead in line for the bus on an unseasonably warm Tuesday in February:

WOMAN [Dark hair, late-20s, attractive but not beautiful, ring-less finger, trying way too hard to turn the commute into a social exercise]: This weather puts me in such a good mood, I brought my world famous oatmeal raisin cookies! Have one!

MAN [NJ Devils hat, early-40s, not well groomed. Putting out the vibe he doesn't have much going on and doesn't care enough to hide it. His wardrobe gives no clues to his profession. Manages to simultaneously look completely harmless and totally unapproachable. Drew the short straw, and is waiting directly behind the woman]: What? No. Thanks.

WOMAN [Now straddling the line between polite and pushy]: They're really yummy!

MAN [Really turned off by the word "yummy"]: "Yummy"?

WOMAN [Advanced well into pushy territory]: Yes, yummy. You'll see.

MAN [Blank expression I could not read]: I just used mouthwash before I left. It won't taste good.

WOMAN [Increasingly frantic as our bus approached. Like she was playing a board game with an hourglass timer, and that bus was the sand]: One bite! Save the rest for later!

MAN [His run-out-the-clock strategy seemed to be working, but he surprisingly gave in]: Fine!

WOMAN [Delighted to the point of giddiness. In her own world, maybe she gets commission on each unit moved]: Well? Well? How is it?

MAN [Acting like he doesn't like the cookie. He's not a good actor]: Tastes like Listerine.

[Man proudly gets on bus, woman dejectedly follows. They'll both tell versions of this story to uninterested co-workers later today.]

Here's a ticket for the Commuting Suicide archives. And if you're the obscure t-shirt type, you don't get more obscure than the crap in our store.

If you enjoyed this story, read more like it in our Commuting Suicide section.

Reader Comments

Dude, you made the cookie thing up, right?

Posted by Jellio.

Nope. These are the people with which I spend my day. Sure, the whole incident only took about twelve seconds. And I may have been projecting.

Posted by aquaman.