Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The "Regular"

A very drunk man got on the bus this afternoon. He doesn't have money to pay the driver and he slurs something to him that I don't understand. Bus driver actually says, "I don't understand." So the guy sways a little with obvious annoyance and manages to spit out, "I lost my bus transfer!" (I think, anyway.) Bus driver waves him back, not wanting to deal with him. Drunk man proceeds to go in and out of consciousness, while I avoid any waking eye contact since we are the only two on the bus. A woman gets on, and naive to the situation, she sits directly across from drunky. He is suddenly intrigued by her and he tries several times to get her attention. "Hey." "Hey." "Hey!" "You!" "Scu-me!" "Hey!" And then I think he said, "Nice shirt" but I can't be certain. She ignores him, and rightly so but finally the driver has to butt in and says, "Where you goin' sir?" Drunky slurs something incomprehensible and I watch his eyes flutter around in a half-dazed state. More than half-dazed, actually. A few minutes later before going over the bridge and crossing into downtown, the bus driver pulls over at an empty stop, gets out of his seat and walks over to drunky, who by now is completely passed out. Bus driver shakes drunky for a minute and wakes him, telling him he's gotta get off the bus before they head downtown. Drunk man is completely confused and unaware of where he's at, and probably how he got on the bus. He hesitates to go and bus driver probes him to leave. Drunky gives a frustrated, "Don't mess with me!" and he evaluates the bus stop before he stumbles off.

The interesting thing to me is the fact that I saw this same, extremely intoxicated man sitting at my bus stop a few months back, surrounded by firefighters. I asked if I should keep going to the next stop and they said I'd be fine here--they just needed to coax him into the ambulance so they could take him to a shelter. They told me he had passed out at the bus stop from a day of heavy drinking (it was 4 p.m.). I actually feel sorry for this guy and something tells me I'll be seeing him again.

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