Sometimes crazy people can bring other people together…

by sam on 02/11/2005

For some reason, the oddest experiences I’ve had with complete strangers here in New York seem to occur on the bus. Tonight for example, I took the bus home, and as it was approaching my stop, I got up to go stand by the front door (as you do when you want to get off the bus), and a few people lined up behind me presumably for the same reason. About 20 feet before the stop, this woman comes barging frantically up to the front of the bus, pushing the standing passengers out of the way, to ask the driver an urgent question. She wanted to know when the bus would stop at 68th street.

I should point out here that this was the downtown bus, and we were at 20th street. I had been on the bus since 52nd street. 5th Avenue only runs in one direction. But it gets better.

The driver, of course, points out that she’s going in the complete opposite direction from where she needs to go, and she asks whether the bus will eventually go uptown (ok, that’s not the crazy question). However, this is the last run for the driver, so he tells her that he goes to 8th street and then takes the bus out of service to go to the depot. This is where she starts arguing with him about why he can’t just take her where she wants to go (um, because he’s a city bus, and not a cab?). He tries to tell her that she can get off the bus and walk over to either Park/Madison or 6th Avenue (one block either east or west, depending on where she wants to go) to catch an uptown bus, and she reacts like this is the most ridiculous suggestion in the world because "‘it’s too cold to get off the bus". This is, of course, when I and my fellow passengers disembark, looking at the poor driver with pity, all thinking "lady, it’s not going to get any warmer when he kicks your ass off the bus 20 blocks further downtown." And then, as soon as the bus doors closed, the group of us, with your typical New York mix of ages, races and classes, just all stop in our tracks and crack up laughing.

Ten seconds later, we were all back to our usual selves, walking in our respective directions like it never happened. But man, I love those little moments.

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