Jason Porath

has a website, i guess

Category: wacky adventures (page 4 of 4)

UBT Romance

One more UBT for you all… may not have so many of these anymore, as I’ve finally broken down and decided to get a car. That is, if this gig ever ends. I was supposed to be on for 2 weeks — it’s been 2 and a half months now. Still, this is supposed to be the last week.

Anyways, last week, on the way to see my girlfriend, I was standing on a packed train, by the door, since I was only going to be on for a few stops.

After standing there for a minute or two, I feel something touch my hand, and, assuming I must’ve bumped into someone, move my hand up the pole. Then I look down. Here is what I see:

Crusty fingernails, yellow in the middle, growing a deep green with grunge around the edges. Blotchy skin, marred with bruises, dirt, and the occasional congealed wound. Magic circle tattoos with a vague wiccan feel on the back of cracked palms. Dirty white undershirt, underneath a graying t-shirt, underneath a blue-gray hoodie, the inside front of which is still wet from its secondary (primary?) usage as a handkerchief. And a very, very ill middle-aged woman.

Rubbing her pinky against the back of my palm.

The first line of defense against crazy people (and as I soon figured out, this lady was nuts) was to not establish eye contact. You have no idea what this may signal to the mentally deranged. So throughout all this, I keep my headphones on (the ear on other side of her off, so I could be alert), looking straight forward, ignoring the woman. I make out the following through my peripheral vision and reflections in the glass.

First, I could make out mumbling. She was definitely not speaking english, nor any language I know of, although she was very much caucasian. Next she starts flailing her arms around in front of her, which I interpret to be her casting some sort of magic spell.

This is punctuated by horrific wet coughing into the aforementioned handkerchief.

After this, and mumbling about how some guy didn’t love her, she gets up and starts swinging (stumbling) around on a pole. Eventually, she swings forward, looking straight at me, mumbling about fucking and not loving her and treating her like shit and whatnot.

She swings forward some more.

Almost completely in my line of view.

Nearby mothers usher their children away. Some frat boy at the other end of the train watches, laughing. A heavily-accented Pakistani man looks on, befuddled. Two men knee-deep in an involved conversation stop talking, instead following what is going on right in front of my nose.

And I stare ahead. Ignoring her.

I am buddha. I am the calm center of the universe.

Eventually, she swings back, sitting in her chair, looking at me, I am sure, with googly eyes.

When I reach my stop and get off, I spy her in the reflection.

She is making kissy faces at me.

That night, my girlfriend would not give me a hug until I washed my hands. A lot. I don’t blame her.

Wheeee

So I had to come into work today. Today is a federal holiday. The porn industry has a day off today. But the movie needs to get done. So I come in.

However, the bus system is on a weekend schedule today, which means a different route, which means adventure time.

I start my trek off by going to Hollywood and Highland, looking for a connection to bus 163, and, upon not finding it, wandering around for about 15 minutes. During this time, I place a phone call to my mom, to look up bus times on the net for me (as it’s 6 AM on the west coast, and calling anyone would be a supreme act of douchebaggery), and I’m chatting on the phone with her as I walk down the road.

Down the street, I see a guy who looks like the lead singer for Metallica back when he had long hair. He is chasing pigeons and yelling at them. So yeah, he’s crazy. I try to avoid eye contact, but can’t really avoid him catching sight of me and running full bore at me.

“Do you want to sucker punch me?! Huh?! You mother fucker!!”

He’s coming at me, waving his arms at me, and it’s genuinely frightening. I sidestep him, going out slightly into the street. He takes this as an obvious Sign Of Victory, and begins to mock me.

“You’re fucking filth, you know that?! You cum-soaked mother fucker!!”

So I get away from him, rather quickly, while still on the phone with my mom (who was wondering what all that yelling was about), and get to my bus stop.

At my bus stop, I find that someone has taken a dump somewhere behind the bench. I did not ever see the feces, but boy, did I know they were there.

After 45 minutes of chillin’ with the turd, my bus comes, and I get to work 30 minutes late.

And nobody’s there.

The entire place is locked up. I have no keys, no way to get in, so I sit there for a half hour, waiting for people to arrive. I make a short phone call to Zoe, who is doing well, I’m glad to hear, and then get to work.

Can’t wait for the return trip later today… 🙂

More weirdness in my life

Couple other interesting things that have happened lately:

1) While walking to my bus from work the other day, I saw a flatbed pull up to the aforementioned cockfighter’s driveway, replete with shopping carts. The driver got out and was handing them out to everyone in the alleyway. I guess people are no longer content to merely swipe them from supermarkets, but must instead construct some sort of illegal shopping cart ring. I think Hollywood should pick up on this — perhaps in Traffic 2: Kroger Crack Pipe (midwesterners should get that, dunno about the rest of y’all).

2) A minute after that happened, I run into the palm tree trimming lady. And she’s pushing a shopping cart. Full of palm tree leaves.

Everything happens in pairs, I guess. Wheelchair encounters, shopping cart happenings…

And, added story. Example of how much I’ve been working lately — I was robbed Tuesday before last. They took my Gamecube and my PS2, and some games. However, I did not realize this until that Friday. What happened was that my housemate Ted (this is at my old place, I just moved) woke up at like 8 AM (when I was long gone) and thought he heard me or Alex or someone wandering around the house. He wandered out into the living room and instead found a burglar, who freaked out, grabbed a backpack, and bolted out the window (which he’d used to enter our place, as it gets hot and we leave it a crack open — there’s a screen on it). But Ted didn’t see me for 3 days (14-hour days will do that) and wasn’t able to relay me the news. He didn’t even realize my stuff had been stolen, he just thought the backpack had been taken. It was only when he told me that I realized.

Ironies of this story:

  • Ted was groggy, couldn’t see, was completely helpless, and no threat to the burglar whatsoever.
  • Erin and I had almost beaten Eternal Darkness, a long (and hard-to-find) game which we have very little time to play, and he took not only the game, but the memory card.
  • That gamecube had taken me three tries to get, as the first two I’d gotten were busted. The last one took me a full hour standing there waiting for the EB Games employees to process my return, my warrantee, watching them to make sure they didn’t overcharge me, since they’d tried to several times before.
  • UBT: Pushin’ people around

    Two UBTs from a day or two ago:

    1) I’m standing at my stop, waiting for my normal bus (which never comes… fscking MTA restructuring), when another bus pulls up and starts letting passengers off. It sits there longer than usual, and I see that the driver is going back to let out a handicapped person through the back exit motorized platform. He brings up the platform, the wheelchair rolls onto it, and slowly, the most majestic handicapped person I have ever seen is lowered from the bus.

    This portly man had:

  • A wide-brimmed black velvet pimp hat, complete with bright green feather (sombero-sized)
  • A velvet tiger-print vest, rife with clever pin-on buttons
  • Neon orange scotchlite wheels (that sort of glowed when you looked at them)As he’s lowering, I see a dog head peek out from underneath the wheelchair. Once he got down off the bus, the dog got out from under the chair — it was a sleek thing, aesthetically pleasing except for the trash bag it was wearing (with holes for its legs) and its neon red collar.

    Once he gets off the bus, one of his legs has fallen out of its brace, and he asks me to help him. I get down on one knee, and do just that. I felt like the Prince in Cinderella. Shortly after that, the guy calls his dog to him, leashes the dog to his wheelchair, and he’s off.

    Shortly thereafter I notice that he is not actually pushing his chair — his dog is pulling him. And that leash? It’s a pair of handcuffs.

    I salute you, o valiant wheelchaired man. May you go well into that sweet Van Nuys beyond.

    2) I get to my train stop, and start descending the stairs as usual (I never take the escalator, as it is populated by slow, slow people), except I notice a wheelchair at the bottom of the stairs. And a man on the floor in front of it.

    I hurry down the escalator, and see that, yes, an 50-something grizzled man with one arm and one foot is laying on the ground. He doesn’t have any bruises, or any injuries, it seems, and is breathing. A couple other guys gather around, and we shake him, asking if he’s okay.

    “Yes, I’m fucking okay, I’m just trying to take a fucking nap! Leave me the fuck alone!”

    Okay.

    Couple minutes later, I’m standing around, and see an LAFD guy looking around the subway platform. He calls to someone, “Nope, nothing else.” I follow him and see that the Old Coot, still laying on the floor, is surrounded by 7 LAFD and LAPD officers. They are asking him if he’s okay, what he’s doing, etc.

    “I’m trying to take a fucking nap! Go the fuck away! Who the fuck are you! I’m not telling you my fucking name! What’s your fucking name?! Go back to hell, you cocksuckers! I hope you go to hell and the devil! Don’t help me in my fucking chair, I can do it myself, you asshole!”

    After about 5 minutes of trying to get the man to tell them his name, the bemused crowd of LAPD/LAFD guys clean up a bit and wander off, as he swears at them.

    All is peaceful again.

    5 minutes later:

    Old Coot wheels over, around 15 feet away from most of the passengers, and begins yelling, “Which one of you cocksuckers took my vodka?!” Apparently he did not see or hear the LAFD guys taking the booze he’d spilled on the floor and telling him they were throwing it away. The one-armed man continued, “Was it you, Blue Jeans, over there? I’m gonna fuckin’ throw you in front of this train. Was it you, Big Titties? I’ll fuckin send you all to hell and the devil, I’m gonna fuckin throw all you cocksuckers in front of the train!”

    Shortly thereafter an on-patrol LAPD guy came up, started asking him what the trouble was. Again, Old Coot starts cussing and being an ass to the cop. It is around the time that he threatens to throw the cop in front of the train that the cop’s partner walks up behind him, takes his wheelchair, and starts rolling him backwards, towards the elevator. He was cursing and screaming, but unable to really do much but get pushed around…

  • Recent Oddities

    1) Not quite a UBT: riding the bus home at 8, 8:30 proves to have an entirely different breed of bus patron. While the 5-5:30 crowd is mostly people who just want to get home, and are quite taciturn, people riding the bus at 8-8:30 are, I gather, probably doing so because they are too damn drunk to drive. Such was the case with 7-8 very large black men at the back of the Metro 204, who, in their boisterous and jocular manner, were recalling in lurid detail every piece of pornography they had seen in the past two months. This was a twenty minute long conversation. These guys watch a lot of porn. A lot of weird, scary porn.

    2) A lady on the subway today pulled off one of the most amazing feats I’ve seen in some time. Now, to give this some context, the subway trains in LA, for whatever reason, are not machine-operated. The trains are, I am relatively certain, actually driven by people. For today, the train operator was driving in the most jerky manner possible. Usually the train speeds up, gets to a constant speed, then slows at the next stop. Well, this ride was constantly accelerating and decelerating, jerking everyone around. I think the driver was slowing for turns, fearing, perhaps, that the train would hit too high a velocity and simply fly off the tracks, careening down some unknown tunnel, plummeting into the foetid deep. Anyway. Throughout this tumultuous journey, a woman at the other end of the train was putting on makeup while standing up. And it was flawless. Bravo, subway lady.

    3) Riding the bus, I look over to the Korean lady sitting next to me, and she’s reading a religious pamphlet. Except the pamphlet is talking about flagellating — whipping — oneself for God. I would think this is weird in and of itself, but I’ve actually seen the exact same thing on a different bus some three years back around here. Different lady, but similar pamphlet. Got to be careful not to go into the wrong Korean church around here, I guess.

    More as I remember it. Have to get to work, more deliveries to the client today…

    UBT Gaiden: Stroller Derby

    Two mild oddities about the subway today:

    1) As the train is halting at Hollywood and Vine, I see two people sprinting. One has a stroller in front of her, the other has a baby swaddled up in blankets in his arms. At first I assume that they are trying to catch the train, as they pass the stairs and the elevator. But they pass the first door of my train car… then the second… then the third… and keep going. People on the train turn and look at each other, wondering what they’re doing. I think they were seeing who could run faster with a baby in tow. Stroller derby, baby. 🙂

    2) Near my last stop, three deaf girls get on the bus, and one sits down next to me. I take the aisle seat, as my stop is the next one, and I don’t want to climb over her. Bad idea. The other two girls stand on either side of me, and start a sign language shouting match with the seated girl. Hands are flying everywhere, grazing my face, almost knocking my headphones off. It was like being in the middle of a tornado — and I couldn’t help but sing to myself, you are standing in the eye of the storm / move an inch and you’ll be dead…

    (bonus points to those who catch the reference — and Jeremy, you don’t count)

    UBT 4

    Man, my bus ride was fast today. Got up to Van Nuys in an hour flat. Usually takes me 1.5-2 hours. If the MTA was this reliable all the time, things would be better.

    Anyways, another UBT from last week:

    I get on the bus, scrunch my way to the back, and there’s this young black woman sitting in the back corner of the bus, talking on her cell phone. Except she’s got one of those Nextel walkie-talkie phones, and she’s got it on full bore. It’s eardrum-splittingly loud. I could hear it from outside the bus when I got off. Every little minute detail of her conversation was out there for the whole world to hear. Suffice to say, my iPod could avail me naught here.

    Her conversation was apparently with one of her female friends (her “homegirl,” if you will — not my vernacular) about some guy named Reggie that she was trying to ditch, so she could try to get with someone else, or something. Well, halfway through the ride, as we get to one of the stops, she starts screaming into the phone, “THAT WAS REGGIE! HE’S GETTIN’ ON MY BUS!” and the girl on the other end responds by laughing demonically. So she hunkers down, trying to hide from Reggie. And continues her conversation, whispering into the Nextel. However, she never turns the volume down on the phone. So the beeps from the walkie-talkie and her friend’s replies are like the Voice of God on this otherwise fairly quiet bus. And she just keeps on whispering into the phone, trying to keep a low profile, while the phone itself might as well be shooting out lightning and summoning hellfire at the back of the bus. I wanted to see if Reggie would catch her cheatin’ ass, but I had to get off before I could see the conclusion of this drama.

    UBT 3

    I forgot one of the bus tales, which happened awhile back. I emailed Erin and my parents about it, so I’m going to just paste that email here:

    So.

    I get up at 5:30 every morning to get to work by 8, generally having enough time to get to the bus stop by 6:30. I got to the bus stop at 6:15 today, figured I was fine. The first bus was 15 minutes late. Okay, I can deal with that. Get on the train, everything is fine.

    Then I get to the last leg of my trip, in the Valley, and everything goes to hell.

    It starts with me stepping out to the North Hollywood bus station, and seeing my bus — number 426 — pull in and let people off.

    “Oh good,” I think. “I’m right in time.”

    I proceed to watch as the bus driver gets out and smokes for 30 minutes. They are allowed to take a 20-minute rest break every 4 hours of work. He just chose to do his in the middle of rush hour. You know, when everyone is trying to get to work on time.

    After watching every single other bus for the entire terminal come and go (often twice), the 426 pulls up and we get on our way.

    Two blocks later, the driver stops over to pick up a person in a wheelchair. This is his first time picking up someone in a wheelchair, so he breaks out the manual and makes sure he’s doing everything right.

    Well, evidently the manual said nothing about parking too close to the curb, because the mechanism to lower the ramp for the wheelchair gets stuck, and the entire bus is trapped on the curb like a beached whale.

    At first he just presses the same button for 5 minutes, trying to get it to work right.

    Then he tells everyone to get to the other side of the bus, so we can try to tip it the other way, and get it off the curb.

    Finally he has all of us (this is around 30 people, men, women, and children, half of whom don’t understand english) get off the bus and PUSH THE BUS OFF THE CURB. This thing had to have weighed around 5 tons. It wasn’t moving.

    While all this is going on, the next 426 comes by and I get on that. As we’re driving off, he finally manages to get the ramp free, and the poor wheelchaired woman was able to get onto the bus.

    I was a half hour late to work.

    Gah.

    Uncanny Bus Tales 2

    Lot of UBTs for one day, but I did ride 7 separate bus lines today, so I guess it’s only natural…

    1)I sit down on a bus I don’t normally ride and across the way from me are two Mexican teens, whom I take to be brother and sister. The girl is fairly pretty, boy is couple years younger and chubby. I glance over their way, trying to figure out their relationship, when the boy notices me doing so. Maybe he thinks I’m checking out his sister/girlfriend/whatever, so, in response, he starts licking her ear. Big, long licks, like on a giant lollipop. She starts giggling, and takes his arm and chomps into it. I just turn away and look forward for the rest of the ride.

    2) I get on the subway, and 6 sorority girl-types (a little older; probably working women) get on board, in party dresses. They all have tall dixie cups in their hands, and are drinking what I take to be alcohol. At least, I hope it was, because I shudder to think that 6 perfectly sober people would hoot, holler, and shriek, pretending that the train was, in fact, a roller coaster. And these girls were -LOUD-. I was wearing my very expensive noise cancelling headphones, playing music, and I could hear them clear as day. I can sleep through fire alarms with those things on. I turned up the music to an almost painful volume, and closed my eyes, fantasizing of ways to kill these bitches. They even flirted with every guy who came in five feet of them. As I’m getting off the train, I catch one of their eyes, and I flip her off. She alerts her comrades, who all get very shocked, and start screaming obscenities as the train sent them careening towards Union Station.

    3) …and as I get off the train, going up the stairs, I pass a girl with full face makeup. I think it was tiger makeup, but I didn’t want to stare. Maybe the circus is in town.

    UBTs

    I’m starting off what may be a regular type of entry: Uncanny Bus Tales. All of these happened in the past couple weeks.

    1) I’m standing by the bus stop, when this homeless-looking lady wanders up to a young palm tree (knee-high), kneels beside, puts down her backpack, and takes out a handsaw. She then proceeds to methodically saw off every one of the palm tree’s leaves, stacking them neatly on the ground next to it. She then wanders off into a neighboring parking lot.

    2) I’m getting off the subway, rushing up the stairs to get to my next bus, and I pass a Chris Farley lookalike, pissed off, in full clown getup, heading for the subway. Other people stopped and looked at him. I just kept going.

    3) Waiting for one of my connecting rides, a bus drives by, but instead of saying where it’s going and the number of the bus, it alternates between “Call 911” and “Emergency.” Even the backplate alternated between “911” and “Call.” I looked after it, trying to figure out if it was being hijacked. It was full of pretty complacent passengers, many of whom were reading books — nobody was even standing. Nobody else on the street seemed to notice it.

    4) I sit down on a bus that goes through the Hollywood/Highland area, and on to Van Nuys, when this gregarious 30ish black guy sits down next to me. He instantly starts talking as if he knows me, even offering up his hand and saying, “I’ve forgotten your name…” Hard to tell if he’s homeless, as he’s not terribly smelly, and his clothes are only slightly unkempt. Highlights of our nonstop half-hour conversation include:

  • Him asking me if I could get him a job where I work
  • Him asking me if I could get him an internship where I work
  • Him asking me if there are any black people where I work
  • An extensive (and incredibly well-informed) discussion of the movie industry, punctuated by the man seemingly knowing the box office receipts (domestic and foreign) of every movie released in the past 20 years, and claims that he has met many of the bigger Hollywood stars (Tom Cruise, Steve Soderbergh)
  • A three-minute digression on the “pleasures of the Orient,” in which he demonstrates a proclivity for Vietnamese whorehousesThose are the weirdest so far… will keep posting as they come…
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