All sorts of weirdness on the M1 bus this week.
I hopped on at 40th and Park Ave South yesterday, and didn’t realize until we’d pulled out at 34th Street that the next stop was 23rd–five blocks south of where I sought to exit.
I knew something was fishy when I went to hit the yellow let-my-ass-off strip, and nothing happened.
I stepped to the foul line near the driver and asked him if he could stop at 28th. He said it was the express bus, and I should’ve taken the local right behind us.
I occasionally take the M1, and have been doing so for a few years. There was never any distinction between locals and expresses on this line.
This same bus I mocked in these very cyber-pages just weeks ago for stopping way too much, now stops way too little.
Stopped at a light at 28th, I asked Mr. Bus Driver to simply open the doors and let me sneak out. No dice. “If you fall, it’s on me,” he said. (Frankly, judging by the size of him, falling on the man didn’t seem like it would be too painful.)
Today, more of the same. I was going to walk, but saw the bus sitting at the light at 40th and hopped on. Once we crossed 37th, a woman of about 40 who had some sort of history with the driver, a large, stone-faced black man of about 40 with a moustache, flirted from the foul line. She had an injured foot and wanted him to stop at 33rd. He wouldn’t go for it. She tried every trick in the book: told him it would be good for their friendship, threw in a comment about a fun trip to Atlantic City with her friends coming up, all that. He didn’t bite, and dropped her off at 34th.
The woman, well dressed with big sunglasses and straight brown hair, said good bye and limped off.
Seated in the front seat, I listened to see if the man would announce the next stop. He did not.
At a light at 31st, I asked if he would stop at 28th. He said no, next stop is 23rd. I asked how one was supposed to know the difference between an express bus and a local bus; he said the expresses have a Limited sign in the windshield. But he told me not to bother remembering that, as the bus would no longer run down Park Ave South in a few weeks.
There were only five other people on the bus, and two started howling (not including me) when he cruised past 28th. One, a white man, necktie and khakis, most notably a hook for his right hand, yelled, “You’re the ONLY one who won’t stop at 28th! I’m gonna lose my fucking job because you won’t stop at 28th! I’ve got a handicapped pass, and you’re making me walk five blocks!”
I wanted to point out that having a hook for a hand probably won’t slow his walking down, but wisely stayed quiet.
The man told the driver he’d never announced 23rd Street. I told the driver the man was right, I’d been listening the whole time–from the front seat, no less. I’d even taken my iPod off to eavesdrop on the funny conversation between the woman on the bad foot and the driver. (Oddly, my iPod shuffle prophetically brought up The Guess Who’s “Bus Rider” while I was on the train this morning…Why is The Guess Who even on my iPod?)
“I don’t know what you’ve been listening to,” he said. “I said it.”
We got off at 23rd. As I made my way up Park Ave, I heard a loud ping behind me. The man with a hook for a hand, furious at the driver and the system, had whacked the side of the bus with his artificial appendage.
As I walked past 27th a moment later, I saw an M1 bus easing over to the sidewalk to stop. It had a Limited sign in the windshield.
It’s a beautiful day, I should’ve walked anyway.