Monday, September 20, 2010

Sassy and homeless on the SEPTA

Welcome to another edition of Sassy On the SEPTA.
‘Cause people still be getting sassy on the SEPTA.
I preface this story by saying that I am a case manager and that part of my job is to go to my client’s homes. Most people drive to their cars to home visits, but I had run out of gas the day before and had decided to take the bus instead of putting money into the tank. As I left someone’s home at 5:15 I immediately regretted this decision as the rain turned into torrential downpour. I ran to the closest 33 bus stop and asked a woman already waiting there if I could share her umbrella. Finally the bus came, and soaking wet I stepped up and took a seat in the front. Turns out it was kind of raining in the bus as well and I switched sides to get away from a leak. A woman got on a few stops later, reeking of homelessness. She had the grey hood of her sweatshirt up and beady little eyes. She explained to the bus driver that she didn’t have any money but that she had got beat up in an alley and needed to get away from there. No matter, the bus driver told her she couldn’t ride the bus for free. The 33 starts in North Philly and has a different crowd that the 49 bus. No one on this bus was paying her fare. She sat down and the bus driver said, “Fine, we can wait until you get off.” People started shouting at her that she didn’t even want to take this bus, that she should take a different bus, and she shouted, ”What bus should I take?” “They said you should take the 68,” I replied and every one quickly yelled at me not to talk to her. Oops…trying to blend in while being the only white person on the bus FAIL. “What bus should I take?” she kept shouting at different people. Fortunately, for my soaking wet and blushing self, this bus driver was bluffing and in about 30 seconds said, “Fine, but as soon as we run into a police officer you gettin’ off this bus.” At this point the homeless woman changed her tune. Literally. She was silent for a second, looked around, and then started to fake cry at the top of her lungs like a three year old. “Whahhhhhh” she cried. The bus driver broke the tension as he broke out into a loud guffaw. Everyone else started laughing as her wails grew louder, eyes dry as the Sahara. The bus driver said, “Anyone got a camera? Someone should be taping this!! We have got to put this on Youtube!” She kept it up for a good while and the bus driver repeated his disbelief that no one was taping this, and eventually she stopped and moved to the back. I remarked to the bus driver that I was new to Philly but that I kept having these crazy experiences on the bus. “That’s the 33!” he replied.

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