‘Let me off the fucking bus!’

On the 49-Van Ness this morning, heading south on Van Ness. Just after I boarded, a man leaped up from one of the disabled-reserved seats screaming, “Back door!!!! Back door!” We weren’t at a stop, mind you. I had just boarded, remember, and we left that stop behind us.

Still, he lumbered over to the door, rolly-bag somewhat in hand. Still occasionally belting out a “back door!” This was when, by obligation, surrounding passengers started mumbling to things to one another like, “ah, San Francisco.”

It was a crowded bus, and I was standing just on the other side of the aisle from where this guy was in the door’s step-down. Now he started saying, over and over again, “Let me off the fucking bus!” and I noticed that, yes, there was snot dripping from his nose. He plopped his bag down into the steps beside him, but we were between stops, a three- or four-block span.

After an eternity, we pulled up to a stop, and because he was already in the step-down area, the doors started to open. But they jammed on none other than his bag.

Here’s the part of the story that drove me to post it. His bag is sitting there keeping him from his desires, as well as the desire, by now, of just about everyone on the bus. The guy was way too incapacitated to do anything about it, and that was readily apparent. So what do the other passengers do? You guessed right. Nothing.

Not tooting any self-horns here, but, with a backpack on my back, and dog bag wrapped around one shoulder, I took it upon myself to dislodge the bag so that the door would open. When it did, the dude nearly fell out, but he managed to land on his feet. He was free.

His bag, not so much. The doors started to close. Repeat earlier circumstances: Inaction rules the day. All these people, this collective hive of antipathy, did nothing. They were prepared to watch the doors close, the guy come banging and screaming for his bag, and the bus pull away.

I’m pretty sure he managed to get an arm back in just before the doors closed completely, and they opened enough for him to grab the bag. Barely.

People amaze me. – Jeff

Jeff’s spends five out of seven days copyediting at Wired.com. His most-commonly used Muni lines are the 49, the 22, and 31. He also blogstweets at Here and There.

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