Two Minutes on the Bus
March 06, 2011, 05:13 AM
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Today, at 2:10 p.m.

Big, fat, dark-skinned, black guy in his twenties, weighing about 250, sitting towards the back is playing a tiny radio loud enough for everyone in the bus to hear it. Playing radios is forbidden on all New York City transit.

I just sat down right by the middle-aged, black American driver. I’ll only ride for about two minutes, to pick up my kid at school. I’m sick as a dog, with pink eye, bronchitis, an earache, etc., haven’t slept in days, and am momentarily unarmed. 

I’m not going back to confront him. He’ll spit on me or take a swing at me, blah, blah, blah; the black women will all lie for Radio Raheem, while none of the cowardly whites will support me with the police; and my kid’ll end up stuck at school, crying, while I’m in lockup. This is not speculation. Been there, done that.

But I’ve got to say something.

“Hey, you want to turn off the radio?”

He ignores me.

A middle-aged or older black woman looks at me, in an inscrutable fashion.

“He’s acting like he’s deaf,” I say, looking at her.

The other people act like nothing is going on.

“Hey, you want to turn off the radio?”

“Hey, turn off the radio.”

“What you say?,” he says, looking up at me, as if just hearing me.

“Three times,” I say, showing three fingers.

“Yo, suck my dick.”

Guy’s a real poet.

“No shame. No human shame.”

“I’ll fuck you up.”

“You punk. You racist punk.”

I’m at my stop.

Exiting the bus, I tell the Irish immigrant crossing guard lady.

“They [the drivers] don’t want to say anything,” she responds, continuing, “If it was a white guy, it’d be different.”

Note that this bus was driving through a lily-white neighborhood.