Inside Voices

Sometimes, the day before I am scheduled to blog, I don’t have ideas. I usually have a few hours of siting staring at my computer screen hopelessly, desperately wishing that I would suddenly be struck with a lightning bolt of inspiration. However, I think some of the least interesting experiences of my life have been provided by the internet, so yesterday I planned to go to the climbing gym.

After inviting my sister along to this rather athletic outing, I rather abruptly changed my plans when she said, “I don’t wanna be inside today.” (she also spotted Waldo driving by, but I’ll leave that story to her.) I realized that being outside in the park with her and her fiance was a grand idea, so I switched into normal clothes and trucked down to the bus stop, worried that I might miss my bus.

I’m so glad I didn’t.

When I boarded 35, I was surprised to hear several raised voices on the normally quiet bus, and as I walked toward my typical destination of the back, I quickly veered off course when I spotted the sources of the voices.

Filling up most of the back section was 7 or 8 frat boys, sprawled around, passing a can of Monster Energy drink.

At first, their shouts of “We’re in Lake Oswego now!” and “That’s a big-ass house!” (Big ass-house, I thought,) annoyed me a lot. Then, I realized they were very much the opposite of clever and witty, and I find idiots to be amusing. And that’s when I started taking notes of their conversation. (Really kind of creepy of me, I know, but how else am I supposed to write entertaining blogs?)

Their shouts appeared to terrify the small children near the front of the bus, and they and their father escaped at the LO transit center. “And they flee!” I wrote, “I don’t blame ’em.”

We left LO and headed down highway 43, along the Willamette. One of the frat boys exclaimed something about the country club across the river being a house. “That’s not no house,” one of them said, and I wrote it down because I admittedly  judge people with grammar that horrible.

Then their conversation shifted from speculating on the surroundings (“They build fences so you can’t even see how rich they are from the road,” “They’d just slap handcuffs on you as soon as you step in the yard,” “Smell that river dude, it’s like a big cesspool,”) to tattoos.

One of the guys thought one of the other guys should get a Monster logo tattooed on his ribs, like it was being torn away. “The Monster symbol? I would never get that on me, never,” exclaimed the tattooee in question, and took a deep swig from the shared Monster can.

Then their conversation moved to who could “smoke” whom in foot races and/or who could do more pushups (“I was a runningback for six years!” “I could smoke anyone in this bus.”)

“This is the dumbest conversation I’ve ever heard,” I wrote, “I have such difficulty not laughing at stupid people.”

A lady boarded the bus about ten minutes away from downtown and sat two rows in front of me. The frat boys were, throughout the ride, cursing loudly and profusely, and no-one seemed to notice. It’s something you just learn to tolerate riding public transit in Portland– unless, of course, you’re this lady in question.

She seemed immune to most curses, but every time the frat boys would drop an f-bomb, she would whirl around, with a look on her face something like this.

I seriously never have seen anyone in my life whose eyebrows or the corners of her mouth have been forced into such angry positions.

She was so angry. I stifled so many bursts of laughter. One man a row ahead of me, at one point, turned around, observed the frat boys in the midst of a particularly heated exchange, then turned to the front again, laughing out loud. That man was awesome.

About two minutes before 35’s penultimate stop downtown, one of the frat boys finally noticed Angry Lady’s infuriated glares, and said to his companions, “Dudes, inside voices.”

“Why?” one of them veritably shouted in reply, “Because,” the first frat boy uttered in a hushed and urgent voice, “I think we just pissed off that lady.”

For the remaining moments, they were slightly more silent, but burst into their loudness once again as they disembarked at the same stop as me, bee-lining across the street to the McDonald’s.

I sat on the curb, furiously scribbling other snippets of their conversations and drafting this blog; I was just relieved that they didn’t get on my next bus.


    • John
    • March 26th, 2012

    I’m sure they were Ducks and the Monster they were passing around was spiked with ethanol.

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