I was on the bus yesterday evening. A white man in his early 50's, thin and scrawny, and two black kids in their teens, also scrappy, board the bus. They are having some sort of heated argument. The two kids claim the guy had stolen something from them. And he claims he ran from them because he was scared. They threaten him and order him off the bus [where they would "handle" things]. His voice gets shrill/panicked. The man makes a run for the door. The kids block him. The bus driver won't open the door for him, even though he is directly to the left of him and sees the man. The two kids begin running back and forth along the length of the bus chasing/grabbing the man. People are also strangely shifting back and forth, quietly avoiding the situation, but never taking theirs eyes off of it. Not until then does the bus driver go on the intercom telling them to take it off the bus.
At some point, it turns to blows against the guy. I hit send on my cell phone, which I had pre-dialed for 911 earlier on (hoping it wouldn't come to this, but fearing it might). They drag him off the bus by his legs, he is screaming "Help me!". No one really moves or does anything. The two gay men at least hold on to his arms to prevent him from being dragged onto the street off the back exit stairs (but without getting out of their seats and with the urgency of holding onto a handrail). UGh, my reception is bad and it takes what seems like an eternity to connect; I finally do. I relay some basic people/location information. The operator tells me to stay on the line, but I'm entering a tunnel and afraid I will lose my connection. Then someone on the bus says...."I see the police". I look out the window..sirens. Someone got to 911 before me, thank god.
The bus continues on. The next set of passengers board at the next stop. Business as usual. The new people don't know any better, the old people act as if nothing happened.
If walls do retain the vibrations of all the experiences/sounds of things past, as some scientists speculate, it's a wonder than any sensitive person could possibly sit on a bus without a sense of distress.
How many things are wrong with this scene?
The possible stolen goods? The physical violence? The indifference/fear for personal safety, yet persistant curiosity of onlookers? Me, pre-dialing 911? Me, watching the people, watch the people? The one bus stop return to normal? The fact that while writing on this blog I have to think about using politically correct labels(words), which at the end of the day mean nothing unless you actually treat people with respect(action)?
Sadly, this is the second time I've had reason to call 911 on the bus. The first time I was about 12 and someone got stabbed and everyone climbed over me to get to the windows (to jump out). Life is far more surreal and twisted than the essay on Filliou/Surrealism that I was reading on the bus.