Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Bus Witch

I need help. Those of you who are familiar with the Bus Witch understand my predicament, for today on the 51, I was hexed.

The story beings with a pretty straightforward encounter, when she and her assorted parcels/baggies/wheely-thingies boarded the bus and kicked me out of my seat: "I need to sit down."

I promptly vacated -- the last thing anyone wants to do is catch her attention, which quickly escalates from ire to fury to wrath -- but it was too late. She started making conversation, and I knew I was in her sights. When she told me I was a nice looking boy, I pretended not to hear. When she repeated herself, I developed a sudden fixation on my phone, managing to snipe this covert (albeit blurry) shot. Then she said, sort of speculatively, "It is alway a shame when nice looking kids die early."


That grabbed my attention, but I kept my head down.

When I still didn't answer, she paused, straightened up, and then said in a firm, clear tone: "You may be nice looking young boy, but with your tattoos, you will die early of blood poisoning." I could swear there was an erie moment of stillness on the 51, and I felt my guts turn cold. Then everything snapped back to normal, she turned to face the front of the bus, and I rode on in silence.

That, folks, is pretty much a hex.

Which means, during finals week and with a few airplane flights and a summer motorcycle trip in the works, that I am basically completely f-cking f-cked. Does anyone here know a cure? A way to forestall the spell? A skillful Good Witch, perhaps?


Tangentially, Boaltie 1L Samika shares some thoughts on law school, at the Shark. I would share a few remarks of my own, but I am currently preoccupied by my imminent journey to the underworld.

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Anonymous Bus Driver on the 7 said...

dude, yesterday the bus witch got on my bus and forced a poor, very old woman to move from her seat. i was shocked by the rudeness!! then she forced some poor passengers to help her with her baggies when she got off and yelled at them for not doing it exactly as she wanted. with a heart like that, i'm sorry but i don't see that there's much of a possibility that she is anything other than a true witch. but if you just close your eyes and don't believe in witches and click your heels three times, maybe she'll disappear.

5/06/2008 3:59 PM  
Blogger tj said...

In all my bus riding, I'm not sure I've had the pleasure of meeting this particular witch. I've known many others though. There's a couple homeless men I see all the time.

One of them yelled at me for quite a while once. It really had nothing to do with me though. The one thing he repeated again and again was "the g-d of the Jews created the trap door spider." Not quite sure what that means, but I'm not sure he does either.

The only reason I can reproduce that quote is because I took the same approach you did: I became transfixed with my cell phone. The only thing I could think to do after re-reading my last couple text messages was to write one to a friend with some of his choice quotes. Good times.

Aside: this post is likely deserving of an "Only in Berkeley" tag as well. Couldn't think of a much better example fitting that tag.

5/06/2008 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, the bus witch. She asked me for $1 once and I didn't have any cash on me, and she called me a liar and started grumbling some kind of spell. Maybe if you give her money she will undo the hex?

5/06/2008 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, only in Berkeley. The homeless and insane eschew public transportation in other metropolitan areas.

5/06/2008 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I must be really brain dead from finals. I read 5:46 PM and totally thought, "Wait a minute, that can't be true. The homeless and insane always use public transportation in other cities."

Yeah, it's time to leave the library.

5/06/2008 6:41 PM  
Blogger trentblase said...

I think you need to re-think your risk assessment methodology when you compare airplanes to motorcycles in the same breath.

5/06/2008 7:07 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Good point.

Pilots are a bunch of drunks. I'm probably better off with me at the controls.

5/06/2008 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first and only time i encountered her, I was sitting in the open area near the middle door with my suitcase next to me (en route to BART to OAK). She dragged her crap on and then demanded I move. Feeling cranky, I glared and told her no, I didn't care to move. I admit I wasn't very polite about it.

Well, THAT was a mistake. For the rest of the ride I got to hear about what an as*hole I was and how kids today are so rude.

No curses have befallen me since, however, unless you count Corps I this semester.

5/06/2008 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

I've had a similar experience on the DC subway. Wine helps.

5/06/2008 9:44 PM  
Blogger trentblase said...

Patrick: now if only everybody you encounter on the road went through such a rigorous screening/testing process that the pilot in your link was subjected to.

5/06/2008 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to see her all the time on the 7 bus. I think she may even have a twin because I used to see a woman who looks EXACTLY like her, but this woman was sane and cogent. I thought maybe it was her on meds but there was a noticeable difference in her skin tone. Maybe it was her, who knows, but I like my good twin/evil twin scenario.

Patrick, your only hope to avoid this hex is to go on the offensive. Next time you see her, as you exit the bus, whisper to her the following: "They ARE watching you." Make sure you get off the bus before her head explodes.

5/07/2008 5:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last week she called me fat and strongly implied I would die young because of it... still fat, not dead yet. Feeling lucky.

5/07/2008 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHAH at 5:23. Please, Patrick, try it!!! Tell her that the tattoos will make you live LONGER and that in fact, you are invincible!

5/07/2008 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude! that happened to me too--I just got up because I didn't want to create a raucous but I was kind of annoyed. I didn't know this was such a widespread experience--glad I'm not alone!

5/10/2008 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh and you spelled samika's name wrong...

5/10/2008 4:06 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Thank you, 4:03, for not leaving this thread hanging at 13 comments. And for the name thing. Fixed.

Small update I walked past the Bush Witch yesterday at the corner of Durant and Shattuck, and I intended to work some of the angles suggested above. But then she hissed at me, and I backed the fuck off.

5/10/2008 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boo. Maybe next time.

5/10/2008 7:21 PM  
Blogger Steven said...


I'm assuming that you meant your dig on drunk pilots somewhat as a joke, but considering the low pay, horrible working hours, and general low morale that is plaguing most airline pilots currently, not to mention the countless general aviation pilots, certified flight instructors, and cargo haulers who face similar problems on top of poor air traffic control services and dangerous operating conditions, I think we all should show a little more sensitivity to those people operating up front. As trentblase aptly put it, if only drivers had to demonstrate as much skill, knowledge, and competence as pilots, we would all be safer. A pilot has probably saved your rear a few more times then you realize, and that's the art of it all.

5/12/2008 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh calm down.

5/12/2008 4:20 PM  

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