It appears that my petitions to the city have finally been heard.
As usual, I waited for the bus this morning with a handful of strangers. Not as usual, I forgot my cell phone and reading material making it necessary to just stand there and pretend I am not staring at people.
There was an extremely small gamey-looking guy who was short enough to be a midget or a child of seven. But at closer look, he had perfectly proportioned body parts to his head disqualifying a midget title. And peeking out at me from his soiled tank top was white fuzzy back hair, hopefully eliminating him as a kid. Another gentleman was almost as tall as the traffic lights with a huge nose and pants that were three sizes too small. His other oddities included tiny hands and ears. He was with his girlfriend who was dressed in all Black Hawks attire. Oh yeah. Hat, tube socks to the knee, plastic red earrings that read, “Stanley Cup 2010 Champions,” and an oversized quilted jacket despite the heat. I wanted to tell her the rally was last month but didn’t have the heart.
Just as I was going to ask when the circus got in to town, the bus loomed up behind a garbage truck and I focused on the job of finding my fare card. When the bus doors opened, I stepped up and passed through what looked like a metal detector before swiping my fare card. My first thought was…gee, it really is getting more dangerous in this city. But as I passed through, a computerized voice said, “Admissible.” Weird. As I headed to the back of the bus I heard, “Very smelly… Not admissible,” and turned to see the bus driver ask the little fella to get off the bus. The Hawks fan and her giant made it through, the bus driver closed the doors and we jolted on our way. Still unseated and in the aisle, my head spun back at the little fella still on the curb shaking his fist and yelling something. Holy crap. What just happened?
Then I remembered. About a month ago, I sent a letter and 452,675 signatures to the Mayor’s office petitioning they should do something about the Lawrence bus. I sent video’s and pictures. I drew diagrams of seat configurations. I spent weeks putting the evidence together but really believed that it was all just an exercise to vent. I didn’t think anyone would actually do something about my complaint.
Fast forward back to this morning. I was so overwhelmed by mixed feelings of confusion and excitement of being heard. I started to fantasize the mayor going through his mail and after reading my letter, calling an emergency meeting! I was so dazed I nearly missed what happened at the next stop.
A woman with her baby asked the driver to lower the bus ramp. The driver did and as she passed through the smell detector backwards dragging the stroller, we all heard, “admissible,” followed immediately by “unchanged diaper – not admissible.” She was told to get off the bus and we watched another rejected passenger eat our exhaust. At the next stop, the detector sniffed out another stinker, but this time the fella refused to get off the bus. A seemingly dignified man in a business suit, he protested he had every right to enter as a pre-paid fare card passenger. The driver explained the new rules and the smell detector, “If you got gas, you ain’t gonna pass!” This slogan brought giggles from some teen boys in the back of the bus. The man persisted angrily he be able to board. “Look man, it smells like you just have gas. Step off the bus, air yourself out and try to get through again.” The man agreed to this idea and hopped down. We all watched him pull on his pants and flap his suit jacket up and down a few dozen times. Then he ran around in a little circle and re-boarded. “Admissible.” One of the passengers applauded and Mr. Farty Pants made his way to his seat. One of the kids in the back yelled, “Hey man, what if he farts again!?” To this, the bus driver announced that all seats were equipped with detectors and any questionable smell would trigger the seats to eject it’s passenger and fold up. The kids in the back seemed amenable with this strategy and we all watched Mr. Farty Pants successfully seat himself with no issues. Whew.
At our next stop, a woman was rejected for too much perfume. The following stop, a very clean-looking man was rejected for bringing aboard his potluck offering for the office. “Smelly rolled cabbage. Not admissible.” We, the clean smelling passengers, leaned forward and were engaged with every stop. The kids in the back began betting who would be rejected and for what reason. “I’ll bet that old guy just crapped his pants!…That guy looks like he ate a dead mule last night!”
I guess the city is doing a test run with just the Lawrence bus. Hopefully it will not slow the route down too much and they will be able to implement on all of the busses. Maybe even the trains. Maybe they could add them to the security at airports!
The opportunities are endless.