This morning I somehow discovered I managed to let my iPod completely die, so I had to ride the bus downtown without my tunes to filter out the world.
I'm so glad. There were all kinds of things going down on the 38 today.
It started with an elderly man with a cane that got on at 25th Ave. He sat in the seat immediately behind me and started muttering and singing to himself in Russian. Soon he began saying to himself very softly something that sounded like, "Sweet. Sweet wheat."
I turned my head to the side so that I could better discern what he was saying, and he started saying it louder. Then he got up and hobbled over to the seat across the aisle from me. He perched on the edge of his seat and stared straight at me. I met his eyes and he stared back, murmuring to himself. Then he slowly looked me up and down, all the time repeating "Sweet. Sweet wheat."
Does "sweet wheat" mean something in Russian that I'm unaware of? Like "dirty whore"?
Anyway, he got off at Arguello and turned on the sidewalk and looked back at me, his lips still moving.
There were two men sitting together in the back of the bus. From what I could tell, it appeared that one was some type of care-giver and was escorting the other one (who was older and much more disheveled-looking) somewhere--maybe to some type of appointment. The escortee talked the whole time, and a large portion of what he wanted to talk about seemed to be Michael Jackson.
"Do you think that Michael Jackson really had sex with all those boys?"
"I had a book by Michael Jackson called Michael Jackson Was My Lover. Michael Jackson found out about it and bought up all the copies, so it's no longer on the market. But I had a copy and it was disgusting."
"Do you know that Michael Jackson bought up all the Beatles' songs?"
Most of the time I couldn't hear his companion's responses, but at one point I did hear him ask, "Why are you telling me these things?" The man replied, "I'm just making conversation." They got off together at Van Ness.
There was also what I believe was a Tibetan monk sitting a couple of seats in front of me. He'd gotten on at Park Presidio, and sat serenely in his seat. At one point a man came up to him, knelt on the floor, and bowed to him. They proceeded to begin a quiet conversation during which the man would periodically bow. At Powell, they got off the bus together.
Thank God I didn't miss these things.