On the 41 bus today, for the first time since I’ve moved to Seattle, I witnessed a fight. It wasn’t a normal fight either. A normal fight would break out between, say, a stove-sized man and a woman who wants to move past him in the aisle. This I’ve seen. The argument never progressed past the woman saying, with increasing loudness, “Excuse me!”, while the fat man made nano-movements to accommodate her.
The fight today was between the driver and an old man. I don’t know what it was about, nor how it got started. I sat at the very back, minding my own business insofar as that’s possible, when the bus lurched to a halt just after starting out from a stop near Northgate Mall.
“I’m driving the fuckin bus!” the driver exclaimed.
He directed this at an old, bald man who had just sat down in the front seats for the elderly. The old man laughed and shook his head the way someone would who’d just heard a mildly funny joke for the second time.
“What do you want!?” the driver bellowed.
The old man shook his head and looked away. By now the bus had fallen silent but for the thrumming of the engines and the rain against the windows. The driver turned to his seat and engaged the gears.
Beside me an Orthodox Jew who had been half asleep all the way from town suddenly stirred into motion.
“Drive the bus!” he yelled at the top of his lungs.
Every face in the bus turned toward us, except for the old man who still laughed at the lame joke I was imagining.
“Dri-hive the BUS!” he yelled again.
We took off and he looked at me.
“The driver’s just being an asshole,” he remarked. “Happens every time.”