Sunday, March 25, 2012


I'd like to introduce you to another of my interesting regulars.

Have you ever seen the comic strip character Maxine? She's an old lady that is very negative about everything. I am convinced that an old woman that rides my bus quite often is the actual person this comic strip is based on. She literally will growl at you. Her face is in a permanent scowl. She never has anything positive to say, if she speaks at all. She even physically looks like the comic strip drawing! Therefore, I have named her Maxine.

Usually, when I see Maxine, my goal is to make her smile. I have only been successful at this once. I was so happy and shocked, I have forgotten exactly what I said to make her smile. Just saying "hello" and "have a nice day" does nothing but make her give you one of her angry, evil looks.

Maxine has a new reason to hate me...and all route 11, 17 & 18 bus drivers. She apparently lives right at the end of the downtown zone. That is a 50 cent ride on these routes, which I do. There is a different route that she can ride for free, but it stops around the corner...basically, across the street from my bus stop. Seems that's too far for her angry self to walk. I suggested the other route to her before, just trying to save her some money. She growled at me...really! She growled at me and threw 2 quarters into the farebox.

Lately, she'll get on my bus and grumble "Oh, it's YOU!" I just smile and ask "How are you doing?" Secretly, I'm half afraid she'll actually answer that honestly and half curious enough to want to know what her problem is. She just throws her fare in hard and goes and sits down.

I'd like to make her day and just give her a free ride, but one thing I've learned over the years is not to do something you don't want to do all the time. She would expect a free ride...from all drivers every day. Besides, it's not fair to others that pay the 50 cents every day. It's tempting to say something to her like "Just because I'm so happy to see you today, I'll give you this ride free...just for today."'s something to think about.


There's a guy that hangs out on Franklin Avenue I have to tell you about. He's a tall, skinny white guy. He kind of looks like Vanilla Ice on crack. He always carries a big boom box 80's style...on his shoulder. Sometimes he has a basketball. Often, he is on a street corner cleaning out the sidewalk cracks, sweeping away dirt or chopping ice and snow. Lately, he's been wearing 3 pair of sunglasses...all at the same time. That's where I made his name up from DJ = boom box. Triple Shady = 3 pair sunglasses.

I've never had any trouble with DJ on the bus. He always turns off his music and pays his fare. I had to laugh one day, he turned off the music and then pushed a button on the cassette player. I thought it was odd because he always leaves his music off on the bus. I laughed to myself when the cassette compartment opened up. He had a stack of about 10-15 transfers in there! I should have known! The cassette player was always the first thing to break on those boom boxes!

I had my first issue with DJ Triple Shady recently. When I opened the door to let a group of people on, he seemed to be in a verbal altercation with another guy. I said something like "Whoa! I hope you guys are done with that because you can't bring it on this bus." The first guy kind of frowned at me, but he shut up and got on the bus. Then DJ boards saying "Yeah, but he looks like Will Smith!! " Looking at the first guy, I could see why he was pissed. Other than being black, he looked NOTHING like Will Smith. DJ kept it up as he went to sit down, "You know Will Smith!! The famous actor. Don't you know who Will Smith is?" I said "Yes, I do, and he's not on this bus. Are you done or are you going to catch the next bus?" He shut up and all was well.

I'm surprised DJ doesn't get his butt whooped every day if he's out there making comments like that. I mean, it would be one thing if the guy even slightly resembled Will Smith, but he didn't. It just seemed kind of racist for him to say that. Like the old line that white people think all black people look alike. It just made him look ignorant.

Anyway, just thought I'd introduce you to another one of my real-life characters. He's out there all the time doing weird stuff, so I'm sure I'll write about him again.



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