dRuNkS oN a bUs

My most recent post was about a drunken mob wife, which is interesting timing because this post will be about two drunk gay dudes and their lady friend, and for that matter, drunks in general, because they’re so much fun.

I’m only pointing out that these two guys were gay because one of them was yelling at me and calling me an a$$hole, but somewhere in the middle of his rant he took time out to inform me that I had “beautiful eyes and a kind face,” which I really appreciated.

Most of you already know that I’m a tour guide in San Francisco, but for those of you who are new around here, I’m a tour guide in San Francisco.

Tour Guide me, with my “beautiful eyes, kind face” and moderate knowledge of the Golden Gate Bridge.

A company actually pays me to go around on those double-decker buses, talking about San Francisco all day long, and although it’s already not a bad gig, there are moments that really spice it up.

A few days ago I had completed a couple of spins around the city, which takes two and a half hours each, so I was fairly beat. I’d been in the office at our Fisherman’s Wharf center for a few minutes and was literally about to head home when a manager from another tour company came in to inform us that some drunken men had gotten on one our buses down on the corner, and were playing around on it.

The driver assigned to that bus for the day was Wong, whose name I’ve changed but I’m still using a Chinese name because he’s Chinese, and yes, that will be relevant.

Wong said that it was his bus, so with the only other people in the office being two ladies at the counter dealing with guests, I decided to accompany Wong to the corner to get the drunks off his bus.

Wong’s English is not terribly well-polished so I told him to let me handle it, to which he readily agreed. As I said, relevant.

Drunk #2 had exited the bus before we arrived, and was standing on the sidewalk loudly arguing with some random older guy we’d never seen before. As Wong and I stepped on the bus we found Drunk #1 sitting on a bench near the driver’s seat. Their friend, a large young woman I’ll call Drunk #3, had passed out on the back bench.

This is how the conversation went:

ME: “How ya doin’, sir?”

DRUNK #1: “I’m GREAT man, isss my birfday!”

ME: Okay, happy birthday! Just so you know, this gentleman with me is the driver of this bus and I’m an associate with the company, can I ask what you’re doing on our bus?”

DRUNK #1: “MAN, we’re just chillin’, taking a little break, you know? The doors were open so we came on and we’re not doing anything wrong.

ME: “Well I’m afraid we have to ask you to step off the bus, okay?”

He looked at me as if I’d just accused him of drowning a sack of puppies. Also, a technical note… the doors on our buses are never left open, so they must have pushed on them to gain entry.

DRUNK #1: “Okay, mister big shot company dude, I have now gonna axe YOU a question, what are YOU DOING ON DIS BUS? HUH?”

I’ve learned over the years that arguing with or even just trying to have a rational conversation with drunks is like herding cats, so I simply repeated myself.

ME: “Once again, and I’m only telling you this one more time, this bus is company property so we need you to step off of it please.”

He wouldn’t have it. He started in on every reason in his head as to why he should be there, and I was being mean and all of that. Exactly what I expected. So I told him that if he didn’t get off in the next few seconds we’d call the cops and they would remove him.

As Drunk #1 continued his rant without the slightest indication he’d heard what I said, I signaled to Wong that we were both done and to follow me, and I stepped off onto the corner, pulled out my phone and followed through with what I’d just told him I’d do.

This actually got him off the bus. He probably would have loved to have us stay and argue with him (good times!) but I like a pragmatic, unemotional approach, and I really wanted to go home. I don’t think he was satisfied with our one-minute conversation because he followed us off and approached me while I was on the phone with police dispatch.

DRUNK #1: “HEY MAN, come on, why you calling police, bra? We didn’t do nuthin’, so what kinda franking a$$hole are you, huh? Why you have to do that when we were not bothering nobody, and damn, you have really beautiful eyes, for an a$$hole.”

I’m not making this up. It’s what he said. It was the weirdest compliment I’d ever received.

He continued…

“You also have a very kind face so why you wanna be unkind like this and send me and my boyfriend to jail when WE DID NOTHING WRONG! WHAAAA!!!”

He started to cry, because a percentage of drunks are criers whereas another percentage are brawlers. As annoying as his whining became, I was glad I had a crier instead of a brawler because I’m getting old now, and he was 24 years old, EXACTLY.

I know this because I learned way more about him than I wanted, only because he volunteered a whole lot of information he didn’t really have to, but that’s how drunks are. Well, most of them. His lady friend was still passed out in the back and the only thing she was volunteering were deep, rhythmic snores, which could be heard out on the sidewalk.

A guy cop and a lady cop, who appeared to be partners because they arrived in the same cop car, stepped up and took control of the scene. Drunk #1 was waving his arms around and doing the opposite of calming down, so the guy cop told him that if he kept it up he’d have to place him in handcuffs for his safety.

Drunk #1 didn’t care for that at all, so the act of placing him in handcuffs elicited a whole lot of information, delivered while screaming.

I learned that he had just turned 24 and that today was his birthday, and he only had ONE mimosa at lunch, but we all knew what he really meant to say was, “one bottomless mimosa.” He smelled like he and Drunks # 2 and #3 had all fallen into a giant mimosa vat and had been swimming around for a while.

Drunk #2 was his boyfriend and he was the dearest thing in the world to him, and “he’d done nothing wrong,” despite the fact that the manager from the other tour company had seen him sitting in the driver’s seat, flipping switches and pounding on things, and we found a broken lever on the bus that had previously been wonderfully intact.

Drunk #1 continued to loudly advise everyone in ear shot that he’d been abused as a child, which is very sad and tragic, but really has no bearing on him sitting on our bus. He told us all his name, his boyfriend’s name and the name of the snoring lady in the back seat, and that they’re all Puerto Rican, so of course he had to start in on the racial stuff, saying we were “racially pro-flying.”

As we didn’t have an airplane, I think he actually meant RACIALLY PROFILING,” but whatever, that was enough for me. I asked the cops if I could leave, and they invited me to instead wait down at our office because they needed to get a statement from me, but first they had to get the lady out of the back once the ambulance came.

They ended up just citing drunks #1 and #2 with trespassing violations, and the guy cop told drunk #1 that he was giving him a break because it was his birthday. I’m pretty sure myself and his partner were the only ones who didn’t buy that, knowing full well that he just didn’t want to haul them to the drunk tank and have to do all that paperwork. A lot of cops take an “out” if they can get it. It was the guy’s birthday, so there’s the “out.”

In my non-cop opinion, those two guys were really not quite functional enough to be set back loose in society, but it wasn’t my call and I wouldn’t have to be the one to fill out reports at the cop shop. Their lady friend, meanwhile, got combative with medics who arrived with a gurney, so they had to strap her down and cart her sobbing self off to San Francisco General.

In my past years of security work, taxi-driving and hotel security, I’ve dealt with my share of drunks and it’s always the same. Rational conversation is impossible, and emotions run unchecked. I once had a guy refuse to get out of my taxi after having already paid me for the fare, as we were sitting curbside in front of his apartment.

He kept calling me a “Jew-boy,” (I’m not in the least bit Jewish, I’m actually of Scottish heritage) and I tried to politely dismiss him about three or four times. “Okay Randy (I had encountered him before and we were on a first-name basis), here we are! It’s your building man, go in and get some sleep, bro!”

“F-YOU, Jew-boy, I’ll do what I want and I don’t take instructions from guys like you, you’re not my boss!”

I said, “Well, okay.” Then I reset the taxi meter and pulled away from the curb, with him in the back seat. He asked, “Hey, where the hell are we going?

I told him I was working and had to go pick up more fares, and I didn’t have time to sit in front of his apartment discussing my non-existent Judaism, so he’d just have to go with me.

“STOP THE DAMN CAB!” he yelled, and he jumped out on the corner, slammed the door and stumbled back to his place. I was hoping he’d do that, because it was just after bars had closed and I didn’t really want to pile more drunks into the back seat with him still there. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if he’d called my bluff, but of course he was too intoxicated to recognize it as a bluff in the first place.

Drunks are only fun to other drunks and themselves, and although they’re really not easy to converse with if you’re not hammered yourself, I will say that they’re quite easy to bluff.

2 thoughts on “dRuNkS oN a bUs

  1. Pingback: Having Fun With ‘Spamps’ – THE RHODESTER CHRONICLES

  2. Lorna Cunningham-Rushton

    Well, having met you in person, I’m vouching for the thing about your eyes. As for your exceptional acceptance of drunks in your life, I’m thinking “not for me” anymore, but you seem to know how to handle it, and it comes with any business where “the client” has a chance to drink. I was an usherette in a theatre in Halifax, a town overrun every second day by sailors who’ve been away from land for weeks or months and can’t wait to find a place where they can just sit and drink whatever they can handle straight up. I think I still have handprints on my bottom from those days.


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