Recognized Social Butterfly


TheBus: Perennial Amusement and Bemusement


During my first week back in Honolulu, the motley assortment of characters on TheBus continues to intrigue me. Yesterday, when I sat at the front of the bus, a man opposite me, dressed like a court jester wannabe, hurriedly began rummaging through a sheath of papers. As he flipped over each scribbled page, he muttered gobs of gibberish.  His face was scorched pink, and occasionally he swiveled his thighs with satanic glee. No one wanted to sit next to him in the only vacant seat on the overcrowded bus.

Intermittently, he stared at me with a manic grin. He made me very uncomfortable; I didn’t dare look at him directly, so I glanced about and tried to focus on my novel—but not for long. With as much discretion as I could muster, I stole a look at him a few more times. Although he thankfully no longer fixated on me, he was just as exuberantly loony as before.

At an isolated bus stop, he jerked himself out of his seat, and wiping a bit of dribble from his chin, he paraded away.


Two days ago, I sat in the same seat at the front of a sparsely populated bus. This time, a serious-looking man opposite me was quite a contrast to the freaky flamboyant guy I encountered earlier. He wore a nondescript muscle shirt and pale gray athletic shorts. With silent determination, he began to repetitively flex his arms over his head. Afterwards, while still seated, he stretched his arms, reached for the metal straps that standing passengers use, and staunchly held on to them for a couple of minutes. When he completed that exercise, still from his seat he latched onto the metal bar above his head and did a dozen pull ups. He was never showy, just adamant in his regimen.

I felt very much at ease as I watched his subdued muscular exhibition. He didn’t seem to mind that I did so. In fact, he totally ignored me. I didn’t feel slighted. After all, riding the bus is ideally a spectator sport for me.

If the two people I have just described did a comedy skit together, I have a pretty good idea who would be the madcap jokester and who would be the stalwart straight man.


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