Here’s the story of possibly the most humiliating moment of my life. The short version is this: I was horribly insulted by a bus driver, which led to the entire bus (roughly 50 passengers) laughing at me for several long moments. Time seems to slow down when you’re embarrassed, but I’m fairly sure this lasted for at least two stops. I know this for certain because I got off of the bus two stops later (and approximately 9 stops early).
Let me back up.
I arrived in a new city, ready to take on the world. I was there for graduate school and I had big plans to be the smartest, most professional, getting-the-most-dates-ish of my program. Life had other ideas. After my first day of class, I realized that it was not a great idea to ride my bike to campus when it was 75 degrees and sunny on a July morning. You would think that the next bit is that it was too hot to ride home in the afternoon. You’re incorrect.
I had moved to Seattle.
Isn’t it beautiful?
This meant that, while it was 75 and sunny at 9 a.m. on a July morning, there was a distinct possibility that it could be 70 degrees and pouring down rain at 4 in the afternoon. Who knew?
So I decided that it would be best to bus home. Luckily, my student card has a built-in system that allows me to ride public transit for free! That is, if you forget about the $71 charge billed to tuition at the start of every quarter…but really I’m just splitting hairs here.
Anyway, I decided to take the bus. I found the route that would take me closest to my house and tried to put my bike on the rack that sits at the front of the bus. I had never done this before. I quietly studied the person in front of me to perfect the technique. I failed miserably. I’m getting more and more flustered when the bus driver decides it’s probably super helpful to blast the horn at me. Spoiler alert: it didn’t help. A kind stranger took pity on me and helped me to secure my bike to the front of the bus. Thank you, you gortex-wearing Good Samaritan. Jerry Seinfeld would be shamed standing next to you.
I stepped on the bus. I knew that my student ID would cover my fare, but I didn’t know where to swipe it. The bus driver saw my confusion, and again decided to help.
“The orca,” he stated.
“What? I have my student ID,” I said back.
“The. Orca.” he repeated to me, clearly having some sort of stroke.
My favorite defensive mechanism is to become extremely direct and wordy. I thought that needed to be said before I revealed my response to the driver.
“Sir, I really do not understand what you mean when you just say ‘the orca” to me. There doesn’t seem to be a killer whale on the bus, so you’ll excuse me if I am more than slightly confused.”
I swear to you, Keiko was not on the bus.
He thought I was trying to insult him, so he responded quite angrily, “You press your card to the pad that has a fucking picture of a whale and says ORCA on it!” He was shouting by the end of the sentence. That was when I spotted a square pad, roughly 2 square inches in size, below the cash depository.
“Oh,” I replied. I pressed my card onto the square. It beeped. The screen briefly lit up and read PASS. “I’m new to Seattle and didn’t know–“
He interrupted me, “YOU DON’T KNOW MUCH OF ANYTHING, DO YOU?!” Then he sped off, sending me stumbling down the middle aisle of the bus as the passengers already aboard laughed.
It turns out that he was right. I got to thinking about it, and I really don’t know much of anything. I don’t think that makes me any different than the people around me (yes, I’m talking to you, smug Seattlites (Seattlans? Seattletonians?)).
Yes. I used a double-bracket there. The sentence is totally sound, grammatically. Grammar is one of the few things I know about lots. That’s why the last sentence I wrote didn’t say “grammar is one of the few things I know lots about,” because that would be ending a sentence with a preposition, dummy.
I don’t think you’re a dummy. The more I consider it, I think it’s pretty stupid that I know so much about the rules of the English language. Talk about useless!
I got off track there. What I realized, while sitting on this bus listening to my new neighbors laugh at me, is that I don’t know much about a lot of things. That realization has inspired this blog. Because I don’t know much about lots of things, I will write blog posts containing wild speculation concerning things I don’t know anything about.
To be fair, this is not the first blog to feature something of the like. There was one called “Things I Don’t Know Anything About,” which was very short-lived. Just wanted to give credit where it’s due. This blog will be slightly different because there will be two posts per week, the first filled with my wild speculation and the second with corrections/shame.
Hope you can all enjoy this learning experience with me as I go!
One anonymous internet idiot.