Yesterday I crossed over. I became one of “those people,” the ones who fail to pretend not to hear the crazy shit that people say on public transportation.
“White people always pay their fare,” white dude sitting across from me said. Loudly, because I could hear it through the music I was listening to in the earbuds. He said it again. “White people always pay their fare.”
“That’s not true,” I said.
He looked shocked and surprised that someone had responded and that someone was me.
The conversation continued as you might expect: “What country are you from?”
“I was born here.”
“I wasn’t raised a racist. I’m not racist. I’m not prejudiced. Are you?”
I confessed that sometimes I did harbor some prejudices and that I thought most people did.
“Speak for yourself!” He said.
He had the gall to try to cozy up to me by talking up our shared historical cultural experiences (because railroad building apparently), trying to create an “us vs. them” connection, presumably “us vs. other black and brown people.”
And then when he figured out that I was a “bleeding heart,” he started accusing me of being someone who would hire a bunch of “illegals from China” if I could, [just] to undercut his wages.
“In America,” he said, “we don’t live like they do.”
“I’m tired of hearing you,” piped up a young white man from the back of the bus to this dude.
“This is America. This is my First Amendment right,” the dude said.
“Well, it’s my First Amendment right to tell you to shut up.”
Angry dude starts to get off the bus and young dude in the back of the bus said, “It’s also my right to do this!” and began sexily kissing his boyfriend sitting next to him.
Angry dude starts screaming, “F____t!” But the door of the bus has closed, and we’ve started moving.
It was the weekend of Pride.Photo and story submitted by Shirley Huey on Instagram.
Oh, that sweet, sweet bus revenge as the back door closed in on the angry dude—and on Pride weekend, too! Thank you to rider Shirley for submitting this tale. It’s good to know that your fellow riders have your back.
For another tale of homophobia and other F-bombs on the bus, check out former Muni haiku champion Jesse James’s story about his Little Mermaid backpack. And, for other empowering bus justice tales, tuck into the time when an unwelcome hand wandered the wrong direction, or when someone tried to body shame another passenger.
Our commutes are a mere microcosm of life in San Francisco, and we are always looking for your stories to round out the experience. Add your own diary to our collective online journal by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.