I was running late. The movie was starting in less than an hour and a half and I had to get from my house in the Mission district to the theater way out in the outer Richmond. If I had a car, it’s about a fifteen-minute drive. I don’t so I was at the mercy of the Muni bus system, which meant it could take as little as forty minutes and as long they damn well please.
Any local resident not on life support knows that our local transit system’s schedules are treated as guidelines instead of actual timetables. Yet I still managed to wait until the last minute because I got sidetracked at home. I found a site where I could play Sim City Classic online for free and the hours just flew by.
It was the bulldoze button that kept me from tearing myself away. After adding residential areas in the game, they usually start sprouting house, followed by an apartment building and so on and so forth. Sometimes though, hospitals and churches would pop up for no reason. I had to take action.
“No mercy for the weak,” I’d say, bulldozing a hospital.
“Go home and worship the Porn God,” I’d add, doing the same to a church.
It was great fun but I should have been more mindful of the time. I only began regretting that when I was on the corner of Van Ness and Geary, waiting for the connecting bus. When one finally did arrive, it was the local service stopping at every corner for the next five miles.
I was beginning to feel upset that I was going to miss the movie. To make matters worse, the bus was packed and there was barely any room to stand, let alone sit.
Just then, my spirits were lifted by an old woman sitting in one of the gimps-and geezers seats near the front door. She wasn’t just any old woman but rather the most bitter and cantankerous piece of yesterday’s news I had ever laid eyes on.
She reminded me of this scowling crone from one Twilight Zone episode who kept getting calls from her long-dead boyfriend after a storm knocked a phone line down on his grave.
“Mildred,” said the voice from beyond. “Why, why did you have to be such a pain in the ass?”
At the end of the show she broke down sobbing, realizing how richer her existence could have been if she had just lightened up a little.
Lacking a paranormal life coach, the woman on the bus had yet to learn this lesson. She looked around at all the common folk trying to get where they needed to go and snarled, “Can’t you see the bus is full? You should have waited for the next one.”
She then harrumphed and went back to chewing an imaginary mouthful of Denny’s senior special.
Thank you ma’am, I thought. Your petty little outburst just made my day.