Magic Hat

The bus was free today and I don’t know why. 

An 8x11 sheet of paper was covering the payment machine, printed in shadow-block letters.

“The bus is free today! Thank you for riding the Culver City 1 bus.”

Green, to match the Culver City bus decor. 

My first thought was, “Oh, because it’s raining.” Which is not a solid reason for free bus rides. 

The thing about wearing my Red Sox hat is that Bostonians are not known for being chatty in a friendly way, so people generally leave me alone. Except the guy last week who stepped out into my way on the sidewalk. 

“Ooh I was trying to figure out what that B stood for. Boston. Wowzers,” he said. 

“Hmm.” I smiled without teeth. Gave him the bro nod and kept walking. Which would never fly without the hat. 

Some guy sat immediately behind me on the bus. He drank out of a styrofoam coffee cup. He smelled like booze. Could have been a ruse, or an honest, sobering attempt. But there were any number of other seat choices to be made and why do people think you won’t notice that? 

I tried to explain what I write about the other day, and the best I could come up with was, “I eavesdrop a lot.” 

The conversation lulled or I didn't respond to something obvious, and he said, “Are you eavesdropping now?” 

This guy with playing card tattoos peeking out of his sleeves had bounced up to a group of middle-aged men on the train platform. His wide teeth were too fleshy not to be capped and he was very White, but he called the other men “homies,” and how could you now pay attention to anything else? 

My headphones died at the coffee shop today. They only take fifteen minutes to charge, but there’s no telling how many chewing noises I will have to withstand in that amount of time. Today it was a whole sandwich left of my head. Something had egg on it. 

“So, in SF we have a whole warehouse. SF is giving us the freedom to move our product around, and if SoCal can give us what SF gives us…” 

He didn’t look as young as he sounded, and from what I’ve been told, no one says SoCal out loud. 

“Who talks like that?” The guy to my right stood up, peered around the pole, tried to find the face of the man with all the abbreviations. He had, until the last five minutes, been convincing his friend that the girl he likes looks impressively pretty without makeup. She lives in Germany. They don’t use Snapchat so much. 

“Hey man, can you lower your voice a little?” The guy with the German crush asked the SF guy. 

The guy with the egg sandwich chuckled. 

I grinned out from under my hat. 

I really only have questions and no answers today, other than this one: We were a team. For no reason other than it was raining and everyone hates douchebags.