Nauseating Ride Home

Sitting across from me on the bus was an overweight woman, wearing black velvet pants and a hooded sweatshirt. She sat beside a round-faced, blond-haired teenage girl, who was murmuring about her recent pregnancy. I had stayed later than usual at the office and found myself on this non-express route. The bus was packed and it was standing-room-only before we left downtown.

Soon, a skinny, black, adolescent boy stopped and stood near where we sat, unable to find an open seat. The pregnant teen began to gag and her velvet-pant companion rolled her eyes in agreement. “Oh God do you smell that?” one exclaimed, as they both grimaced, holding their hands to their mouths, pointing at him indiscreetly. As the bus wobbled from stop to stop, they continued to make gagging noises, claiming to be vomiting in their mouths out of distate, and talked loudly to one another saying, “I feel so sick. He is disgusting.” But the boy did nothing and kept his head down low, silent through their alternating laughter and supposed dry heaves.

“Here, let’s hold him down and spray this on him,” a cocky well-dressed young man smirked, as he pulled off his headphones, holding a can of deodorant spray from his bag. All three were laughing now, as the others on the bus looked away. My throat tightened.

Suddenly the velvet-pant woman dropped her purse, spilling its contents everywhere on the floor. As people around began to lean over to help, she stopped everyone, looked directly at the boy. “Excuse me, get away from here! You’re going to have to move. I DO NOT want my clothes touching you!” she barked, as she pushed him back to retrieve her things.

The boy kept his head down.

“I don’t know what his excuse is,” said the pregnant teen, “I’m homeless too, but I shower at the shelters everyday,” she said proudly. Her, the velvet pant woman, and the well-dressed man all nodded mockingly with a smile.

And so it went from stop to stop, their piercing laughter and condescension unrelenting. The boy kept his head looking out the window and I never saw his face. Nor could I smell him, as the bus emptied he had sat in the seat right beside me.

“Have you ever seen someone wear pants like that?” the velvet-pant woman asked incredulously, pointing blatantly at the boy’s clothes, “I don’t mean to be rude,” she said dramatically, looking him up and down for something else to call out.

Combined with the shoulder to shoulder proximity of bodies and the stop-and-go of the bus, I felt sick, but not from the boy’s supposed smell. I pulled the cord and got off the bus four stops earlier than my usual, feeling nauseated from the rancor of the people who surrounded me. The bus stopped and I clambered off, glad to feel the fall night air on my face.

I crossed the street and I saw two Asian girls standing by some trees. As I walked closer, I noticed one was bending over vomiting. The other stared as I passed by.

I walked home.

  1. Wow, that sounds like a crazy experience. Isn’t public transportation awesome?

    • Jamie
    • October 6th, 2006 10:04pm

    Yeah, I’m usually a proud metro rider, but man. I guess I’ve been spoiled with the commuter routes.

  2. Depressing story. I always hated having to take the bus home late at night, the typical yuppies with ipods and laptop bags are replaced by the less desired of seattle. damn, any guy sprays crap at me i’d punch him in the face, and bitch slap the fat chick and her pregnant friend. lol, damn need to get out of the 3rd world, it’s making me aggressive.

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