Jason Porath

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Category: uncanny bus tales (page 1 of 2)


More LA weirdness:

1) Walking to my car, I see a woman pushing a stroller, walking towards me. As she gets closer, the baby carriage begins to emit a hideous howling noise. Peering into it, I can see the woman is carrying her dog.
2) Walking to lunch with my co-worker Amy, a short, fat young woman, holding her crotch and walking like a pimp, comes strutting by us. From down the block, we can hear her piercing voice. As she passes us, she yells to Amy, “Nice catholic schoolgirl outfit! Want to come home with me?!” Amy was wearing a plaid skirt. On the way back, we meet up with another co-worker who has been hassled by her. However, with him, she stood next to him the entire time he was in line and talked to him about Jesus and the Prophecies and the End of Days.


So just now, on the way back from Subway, a short, muscular man put his arm around my shoulder and exclaimed, “How could a skinny thing like you eat all of that sandwich?”

I sort of stared at him, horrified, until he left.

…my co-worker Amy says that I should have replied, “I fuck like a rabbit.”

Return of Uncanny Bus Tale

So the other night, I was out and about, and was riding the subway back to my place. And as usual, LA public transit never failed to let its freak flag fly.

So I get off at my subway stop, and as I’m heading up the stairs from the platform, I heard the sound of liquid spilling and hitting the ground. When I got to the top of the stairs, a puddle of yellowish liquid corroborated my auditory observation. “Oh,” I thought to myself, “someone has spilled their lemonade. That’s kind of gross. I’ll step around it.”

Then I heard the spilling sound again. Not ten steps ahead of me festered another yellow pool. Perhaps some sort of leak from the ceiling?

Rounding the corner, once more the sound of liquid familiarizing itself with tile flooded the corridor. This time, though, the source revealed itself — the yellow beverage was issuing forth with nonchalant effort from the mouth of a nearby subway passenger. The remarkable thing about all this is that this Paragon of Puke never slowed his walk; he just kept on trucking as amber fluids made an exodus from his gullet. This man vomited no less than ten times (I counted), three of them on the escalator. He was singularly unfazed both by his alarmingly routine cleansing, and the half-dozen subway passengers who were exclaiming, “Dude! Come on!”

As I exited the station, I saw this remarkable man continue his amble down the street. In the direction of the cheapest bars in the neighborhood.

Godspeed, Mr. Sloppy Drunk. Godspeed.

UBT: WTF (and other acronyms)

A short one for you all:

Sitting on the bus. A 6 foot tall woman with sunglasses, hair done up, wearing an extremely baggy t-shirt has just gotten on the bus. Wait, no, she just turned around. An extremely baggy FRONT of a t-shirt. Starting with the sleeves and going down, she cut out the back and… clothespinned it around the waist. So there’s her back. And there’s her bra. It’s black. Huh.

Oh, and she’s wearing high heels. So that’s why she tripped and spilled her Starbucks concoction all over the lady right next to her.

She’s got kind of funky tattoos behind her ears and going down her neck. Kind of Jadzia Dax with a loopy floral pattern. That’s neat, I guess.

…and she’s getting off. At the next stop. She got on the bus for one stop. And paid cash for it. Huh?

UBT Symphony

On my way back from Fry’s the other day, the bus stops at a not-oft-stopped-at locale (I didn’t even know you could get the bus there) to let a middle-aged woman on. The woman looked like Reba McEntire if she let her makeup department go and cried herself to sleep every night. This woman, despite having sunglasses on, had a facial expression that made it look like she was going to cry the entire way home.

Immediately she starts with the crazy, as she sits down and starts talking jovially to a wheelchaired woman (who could not escape) about what a nice day it is, do you watch American Idol, I really think that Kelly should get with that Clay fellow, I do work on movies, I’ll see you on the set, etc.

This wouldn’t be really so bad, her chattering incessantly about mindless drivel, were it not for her excruiciatingly painful laugh. It’s like Barbara Walters replaced her vocal chords with sandpaper, then laughed into a megaphone.

I am not the only one that picks up on this. Several Latino kids (guessing somewhere between 12 and 15, obviously insecure and uncool — one of them looked straight up like Wayne from Wayne’s world, even wearing an ACDC t-shirt) start making fun of her. When she mentions Donald Trump, they immediately butt in, “Yeah, you kinda look like him!” When she laughs, they laugh back at her. The stare at her, toss crap in her hair while she’s not looking, etc. Stupid teenager stuff.

Well, she gets the bus driver into it, and so they start having a shouting match, as he tries to drive.


The old balding guy behind me, to my surprise, has scooted over next to the Italian lady across the way from me, and, in an attempt to impress her, has started to sing Italian opera to her.


The Punjabi guy three rows back gets annoyed and turns up his hand radio a little loud, so he can hear.

…I almost want to start singing along to my headphones.

Finally I get to my stop and start taking the train home.

On the train I notice the guy next to me has a toothpaste tube sticking out of his sock. And a toothbrush.

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.


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!”


    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…

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