Commuting Gets Surreal


I often spend time during my commute reading, dozing, wondering why the attractive women don’t sit next to me and composing today’s perfect moment. Today was not that much different, except of course that it was.

My bus window was rather dirty, giving me a very obscured view of the world outside. I was pondering this idea and considering how to weave in words like vague, hazy, unclear with the words like  perspective, viewpoints, agenda, vision and anything else I was thinking.  I was just hoping it wouldn’t be too “stream of consciousness meets overly tired ESL teacher distrust and suspicion.  Fatefully, the word surreal jumped out of my sub-consciousness just in time for its real world appearance.

Have I got your attention? Needless to say, somebody had mine as well as that of the whole bus.  If I have your attention, sit back and read this.

The bus I ride is rather long, and I set in the middle of the back half of the bus–I don’t know why this is, it just is. I tried sitting at the front but I just wasn’t comfortable.

I digress.

While alternating between reading my latest novel (see here), dozing off and contemplating the already mentioned dirty window concept, there seemed to be a growing din in the air. I could here a tumult of voices, though it turned out to be only one voice, bursting from the front of the bus.  It drew everyone’s attention.


A young woman was screaming from the front of the bus. I did not record her tirade, nor can I really give you a lot of quotes.  I heard her say things like “Yeah, I’m high!”  “You should join Trump! (something, something) revolution.”

Fortunately, no violent actions against either the driver or the passengers happened, and surprisingly no foul language was detected.  The scene just seemed to play itself out as if I was watching a stage play.

Now, the part that makes this surreal is not that the incident happened. I know bus drivers have to deal with all kinds of abuse from passengers (drunk, high, mentally distressed, angry and stupid), but rather the tepid response it drew from the crowd.  People weren’t talking about it, certainly no one intervened, and most people continued texting as if nothing were happening.  The bus kept moving and it was several stops before the person got off and the whole scene got quiet again.

Nobody exchanged words or opinions and the whole thing faded to obscurity. I guess, apart from being surreal, are we all so inured to these incidents that they cause no concern for us?  For me it was rather shocking, but it raised very little concern in anyone on the bus.

I guess I am the different one.

Have you had any incidents like this one? I would love to hear about them.


On a side note, whenever the word surreal pops up from wherever it resides in my brain, I remember the TV show the Surreal Life. It was the most creative and truthful title in all of reality TV.  The premise was rather brilliant and although the results produced some cringe worthy moments, there was somethingsurreal rather appealing about the whole thing.  Again, maybe it was just so real.

About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
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18 Responses to Commuting Gets Surreal

  1. bribikes says:

    Weird! I would be totally creeped out if I saw that take place. But I guess “herd mentality” plays into this, everyone sees each other calmly continue on with whatever they are doing so they simply follow suit.

  2. Howto$tuffYourPig says:

    Unfortunately, I think society has become immune to disturbing circumstances because it’s so common now. I also believe that network and 24 news channels are partly to blame for this. People are watching bad news so much now that they are now becoming numb to it.

  3. rootchopper says:

    In my college days in Boston I rode the trolley a lot. I’d occasionally run into the Yankee Doodle Man. He was a disheveled man of slight build.
    He would loudly whistle Yankee Doodle. When he would stop whistling he’d launch into a racist or antisemitic rant.
    Then he’d get off at the next stop.
    Life in the city….

  4. Dan says:

    OTH, that was rather entertaining. My commute noise would be the cars, the wind in my ears and an occasional animal. Ah, the joys of living very rural America.

  5. bgddyjim says:

    The offending high-on was a Bernie supporter, and clearly a gullible dope, as all Bernie supporters are. Best to keep the pistol handy and try not to laugh. You cover all of the bases that way. Whatever you do, don’t offer them food! They’ll camp outside your house and demand you feed them for the rest of their failed, miserable life… After all, it’s your fault don’t ya know.


  6. I feel like there are hidden cameras filming Jen’s story, because I just don’t believe half of what occurs can possibly be happening… unless it’s for someone else’s amusement.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good read. It is amazing how disconnected society has become from reality, especially with most of our lives run by a mobile device. Commuting really just allows people to zone out after a long day to the point where they become so oblivious to their surroundings. Not that I necessarily agree with this phenomenon but unfortunately it’s the reality we face.

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