I got all dressed up for a meeting downtown. walked in the drizzle two blocks to the mini mart and ran across 82nd in front of pick-ups to grab the 72 to the Max. Bus was empty but for me and three mexicans. A white man old and wrapped in sweatpants and O of U gear. Muttering to himself.
We take on two old Cantonese ladies another two Mexicans a black dude and his white girl. she’s made up and looks like she has a mouth on her. she’s yelling into a cellphone as we roll up and strikes a pose as she yells. hand on hip.
we take on some more poor white people. laid off guys and their haggard looking wives. they smile and let another old cantonese lady sit down. a poor blonde woman kisses him on his neck above a faded tattoo. she looks at me and smiles.
A bearded dude in a wheelchair and cowboy hat with beads hanging offa his jeans jacket gets installed. people make way with a quiet eagerness to be polite.
We roll passed Sizzlers and BK and Auto Parts and Fubonn Asian Market. Kids get on with their pants hanging low and their drawz showing. Chinese ladies with bags. Mexicans covered in drywall dust talk about work. Broke white people get on and they look the roughest. Especially the women. Sunken cheeks and too much make up. A look that says “i may look rough, but i am kinda brittle. Lets be friends. If not, fuck you.” Ugly couples cuddle and kiss.
I get to dwntwn and do my thing. On the way back, a retarded man is making wierd noises behind me on the Max. Noone cares. Blacks and Mexicans and White girls bumpin hip hop with a scared but inviting look on their made up mugs jerk at every stop, jerk at every start.
We get to the bus stop and everybody’s chillin. Everybody’s smokin. Everybody knows everybody else sees them. We wait in the rain and avoid direct eye contact but when we do its a friendly thing. Its all good.
A super dork gets on and he is painting his hands with a sharpie. He tells a toothless bum next to him how cool it is to have painted hands. better than tattoos. Girls dig it. He has all sorts of chains and he knows the difference between one thickness of chain and the other. The bum is tanned with dirt and he looks very interested.
Another super dork gets on and holds a pointless conversation with a semi-retarded lady with a walker six seats in front of him. Whatever she says, he says: “it happens.” She tells him that Laura stole her white paint tube and the Madonna painting she has been working on. He replies with: “I started my own business, Damnation Entertainment, Portland Firebreathing at its best.”
She says What? He repeats it. Then: It appeals to a lot of people.
Just before i get off a young black couple get on. they are beautiful people. he is one of those super handsome black men with all the right gear but not all sagging and petty hustlin. he clearly has game and cares about himself. she is supafly cute and petite with the softest skin. i can tell. their baby is a divine combo with a huge afro. everyone on the bus smiles and coos and wants to talk with them. everyone. They get off at the next stop. Silence. When i finally get off, the rain has stopped and i walk the few blocks home dreaming about food.