Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I could see how this might be disconcerting.

Honolulu airport has no shops outside the secure area, nowhere to break a twenty. I need to break a twenty because I know that buses in the U.S. don't make change, and though the fare's $2.50, if 20's all you have, $20 is what you pay. I find there is a lone starfucks at in this terminal. I have a longstanding boycott of the place because, well, they have enough money and they don't need mine. But it's suck it up and break my twenty or give the whole thing to Honolulu's Transit Authority.

The cookies were good.

As I'm getting on the bus with my handful of change, a pair of German backpackers "sell" a ticket (actually a bus transfer, but the driver lets them get away with it) to the girl in front of me because, they say, they paid $10 and didn't get change. Mm-hm. I sit down and the guy behind me leans forward and asks if I'm local. I smile that I'm not.
Next, a young guy with no shirt gets on and sits next to me. He's blond, mildly buff, heavily tattooed, but he still carries a whiff of eau-de-dork, like he's trying to emulate Marky Mark circa the Funky Bunch.
He glances over at me a few times then plugs into his portable music device and starts softly rapping to himself.
A tall tree of a man gets on. He's carrying a tent, a rolling suitcase, and a K-mart bag. He reeks to high heaven of b.o. He sits next to me on the other side. At the next stop, a woman wants to get on. She has a walker, and the bus is a kneeling bus. The driver tells her she'll have to fold it up once she gets on, and she boards. Once on, she refuses to fold it, snapping that she can't. The driver stops the bus and after a short argument, rearranges all the passengers, flips up a bench seat, and straps down her walker. Tree has been made to move across the aisle, but leaves his baggage next to the walker. The driver tells him he has to hang on to it so it doesn't fly all over the bus, and Tree mutters that he'll keep an eye on it, but then Ms. Walker grabs the stuff and holds it steady, making aren't-we-beleaguered eye contact with Tree. She makes the sign of the cross at him and he reciprocates the gesture.
Ticket buying girl has started conversing with a strapping family of regular tourists, who help her find her bearings. As we approach Waikiki, I spot a post office and push the button for my stop. Marky Mark gets off at the same stop as me and goes rapping into the distance. He has put on his shirt.

Welcome to America.


  1. Ho ho. Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Genius name for a band. Otherwise, great scene-setting there.

  2. This is so bang on and could be a description of a public transit ride in Vancouver. Although in Vancouver, there would also be the smell of urine.

  3. Jen, I know, I can't not call him Marky Mark, even though he is a Famous and Respected Actor now.

    Green, it's such a normal thing, but it's so jarring after coming from a place where nobody talks to each other, everything works, and all the interactions are passive-aggressive.

    Just another day.

  4. Aw, the charm of US public transportation.. Sounds like a typical bus ride in Seattle as well!

  5. -phx-, I'm in Seattle right now! Not riding the bus though, so my travel time is much more peaceful, albeit lonelier and less action-packed.