Dean Rivers (dean_r) wrote,
Dean Rivers

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Becoming the arch nemesis nobody dreamed I could be.

Imagine yourself in the Port Authority bus terminal in New York. This is a building full of escalators and people running for buses and even some of these aforementioned buses. I got to converse with someone who ran for one of those buses, and even had the misfortune to miss it, and we shared the wondrous experience of a chance meeting of two people who missed the same bus, and the different ways people react to adversity.

I had made it to the departure gate of the bus Jamie and I needed to get on. Jamie had felt the need to go to the bathroom, and would be along shortly. The bus was already full of passengers and the driver was anxious to get going. I took a step onto the bus and asked him when he would leave. He checked his watch and told me that it'd be a few minutes. I got off the bus and stood by its door, waiting patiently for Jamie to arrive.

The few minutes passed, and the bus driver looked at me. I took one last look and Jamie was still nowhere to be seen. I shrugged. The driver nodded, closed the bus door and started to drive away. However, there was a man who saw my shrug and the bus door shut. This triggered the man to run in futility, shouting that the bus should stop - to no avail.  By the time he had ran past where I was standing, the bus was long gone. Obviously, the gentleman was a little perturbed and turned dramatically to me:


Obviously I had offended the bus driver with my shrugging of insolence. I looked at this man, who was a shade of lavender after his thirty-metre sprint, and commented that I didn't say anything - the driver simply left at the time that he was meant to.

How dare I! I had obviously shrugged with such intensity that the driver had to drive away from me, lest the passengers fainted in fear. This charming gentleman decided that as I was too laid-back to shout at, he'd shout at someone else. He went across to the departure gate opposite from me, about twenty feet away, just as Jamie arrived and stood beside me. Nothing obstructed our view of his wrath, as he vented with ferocity at some bus dispatchers. Maybe they'd seen the disgraceful shrugging.

This man had energy to burn. His furrowed brow was collecting sweat dripping from his shining puce head. His hands were whirling dervishes, and his mouth seemed to open so frequently and widely from his angered bellowing that it felt like his lower jaw was trying to get away from the rest of his body. He then pointed with fury at me from the other gate, his index finger shaking with rage. He knew it was all my fault.

I waved cheerily to him.

The man was now beyond livid. He points to a phone and half-grabs it as a despatcher tries to pass it to him. He is screaming down the phone to some poor bemused soul. The despatcher shrugs at me, and starts to walk away. I had gotten away with my shrug of offensiveness!

The angry man, sensing defeat, slammed the phone down and stared with a maniacal intensity at me. He wanted me to know I'd not gotten away with it. He wanted me to know I was a marked man now, for he produced the kind of stare that could melt polar icecaps. A homicidal stare that suggested he would hunt us down and eat our innards.

Jamie and I got on a bus that arrived a few minutes later that took us close enough to where we needed to go, and I smiled. I'd found myself another enemy! This is fantastic progress for me. A few months ago I'd never get on the boat for fear of rocking it, and here I am upsetting strangers in public places - I was feeling proud of myself.

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