“Man, you should be a singer,” he said. A singer? This guy, who may well have been a homeless person, told me this at the Albany bus station. He was a confusing character: I couldn’t tell if he was waiting for the bus to Boston or keeping warm on a cold day before being kicked out to find a place to sleep on the street. He had a clean, blue t-shirt, a decent jacket and dark blue jeans. His shoes were not overworn and he had a Boston red socks cap on. But his mannerisms were just like any other homeless man.
“You could have 30,000 teenage girls yelling for you on stage,” he continued. What the hell is this guy’s problem? I don’t know this person, maybe he has mental problems; like a functioning schizophrenic, or whatever the politically correct term is for that disorder this year.
“What do you do now? You should be a singer! Whatever you do now cant be better,” he went on, as I brought out my cell to pretend to text someone and began to ignore the guy.
He eventually gave up on me, but it was a crazy 10-minute, mostly one-way conversation. After some time, another guy entered the station; the crazy man ensued.
“Hey brother, how is it going,” the crazy man asked the newcomer. “hey, what are you up to?,” he responded.
“Not much, just socializing with some new friends,” he said.
“Oh,” responded the newcomer.
The crazy mans voice had changed with this man. Not for bad, but for calm and composed. Where he was about to get up in a fit about how I was not a singer, this new guy was treated as a regular person.
“I’m ganna go outside for a cigarette,” the newcomer said.
“Can I come?” the crazy man said.
That was the last I saw of them for a good, quite ten minutes.
Then the bus driver got there and began to take our tickets. One by one the ticketholders were allowed on the bus. I walked on and was about half way down the isle when I looked over and saw the crazy man in the line.
Whatever, I though, just as long as he didn’t sit next to me.
So I found a fairly isolated seat near the back of the bus and sat down. The row I was in did not have a power outlet so I connected my laptop up to the seat in front of me. I was thinking to would ask the person who sat there to watch out for it.
As my luck goes, and as God is funny, it turned out to be the crazy man who ended up sitting in front of me.
“Hey dude,” he said, as his head spun 180 degrees to get a look at me through the seats.
“Hey,” I responded awkwardly.
The man who gave him the cigarette, the one who he called his brother, was sitting next to him. At this point I was thinking he might actually have been his brother. Cigarette man was trying to calm crazy man down, or keep him from acting up.
This had a limited success rate, and ended up did not going well. The bus from Albany to Boston usually has two stops in between, Worchester’s union station and the Riverside station at the MBTA Green Line.
The cigarette man did his best, but after staying in one position too long I guess the crazy man just got restless. His voice fluctuated frequently, responded to by the cigarette man calming him down; he wanted to get up and walk around a couple of times, but the cigarette man didn’t let him. This dance went on for at least an hour and a half.
The bus driver did not understand, or maybe he did not want to understand. Because I know the driver, and don’t like him, my comment is that he, too, might be retarded. His decision-making skills really made that bus ride a unique 2-hour experience. Stopping mid route on the highway, he got up and walked over towards us. “Excuse me, sirs, your being really loud and disturbing the passengers,” the bus driver said. “If it doesn’t improve im’a have to separate you two.”
The crazy man looked down while the cigarette man did his best with the driver. “Sorry, sir, we will quiet down,” he said.
“Good,” the bus driver stormed off.
“You showed him,” the crazy man said to cigarette man, while obviously trying really hard to keep his voice down. “Lets just try to keep it down till we get somewhere, okay?” his possible brother responded.
There was a period of no more than 20 minutes where both crazy and cigarette man tried to be quiet. There were small falters in between, but the conversation soon escalated to the level it was at before. Which was not terrible, but it was just a notch over normal. Crazy man was a large guy though, (not fat, and far from it, just large) for him it was understandable to have a loud voice.
At this point, however, the bus driver pulled over again. “Get up,” the bus driver called to the cigarette man. The cigarette man played the confused card: “What? Me?” he responded. “Yeah, you, who else. I don’t want loud mouth sitting next to me,” the bus driver shot back, as he dragged the cigarette man to sit in the front of the bus.
After this event, which incited a decent amount of whisper-level gossip in the rest of the bus, there was dead quiet for a good five minutes.
Sitting behind the crazy man, I got the full experience, which began at whisper level and fake cell phone talking.
He took the phone out of his pocket and raised it to his ear, “hey man,” he said. “Yeah you need to take that bitch back, man,” he said with enthusiasm. As his solo conversation went on, his voice went up. It was a bad start; yet, it was nothing compared to what it turned into.
It took a while, but he eventually dropped his phone, and kept talking by himself. It had to only be a matter of time before the bus driver stopped the bus again.
Less than half an hour from when he decided he did not need his phone to talk, hands flailing and body jumping, the crazy man had a business plan. “Millionaires! We can be millionaires!” crazy man promised the back of the chair in front of him. “We’ll have the fastest crew in town, see,” he claimed. “Water heaters! We can install them in 20 seconds! With 4 of the best guys in town we can do 800 a day!”
Holy crap. This guy is sitting in front of me. It’s like watching some crazy movie, except, I’m in the movie and its real life. In retrospect, this was probably a much more precarious situation than I took it to be.
I watched in amusement from my first row seat, while the rest of the bus glared from safety. No one said anything, of course; political correctness prohibits this.
Soon after what must have been crazy man’s peak, the bus stopped and the driver stood up and got off. Crazy man was silent, and in almost a whisper he asked his dear friend, back of chair: “are we in trouble?”
Then the blue lights showed up. Crazy man looked out the window at them and exclaimed to the bus: “oh shit! The cops are here! I think were in trouble! Everyone put their hands behind your heads!”
The bus driver had in fact called the cops. After the crazy man was walked off, the bus driver asked every one to fill out these forms claiming their was a disturbance on the bus that justified the situation.
There was a drone of gossip until we got to Worchester and then it was quiet all the way to the last stop on the green line, and then into Boston.