Yesterday I was taking the light rail out to way past Gresham (In Oregon parlance, if Portland = San Francisco, then Gresham = Fresno) and the guy seated next to me was such a jerkoff that I took careful notice of him. He had expensively coiffed hair, an $800 suede jacket, shiny black pointy shoes, the sideburns – all of it said “I sell things, I like cocaine, and I am a big fat purple dickhead.”
He had his arm thrown expansively across the back of the seat so that he was taking up more than his own space. His legs were crossed, with his giant pointy shoes propped up on the handicapped grip bar, and his cellphone ringer was set on maximum loudness. Everytime he took his cellphone out of his pocket, he dug me in the ribs with his elbow. Since he felt the need to call up about four people while I sat there, I became intimate with that elbow enough to feel that it should at least take me out to eat if it was going to feel me up.
So each of his cell phone conversations started with a braying laugh and and a “Heyyyyyy, howzit? OH me? Just takin’ the lil’ ol’ Light Rail, haw haw haw” and I hated him, oh how I wished him harm, oh how I wanted to smash his cellphone into tiny expensive bits everytime it played its horrible tinny little ringtone. An announcement came over the loudspeaker: “Someone is leaning up against the disabled call bar to let down the ramp, and so if you could check to see if you or your bags are pressed up against it, the train can’t move until that bar isn’t being pressed on.” The guy next to me just kept talking into his cell phone. The train stayed where it was, and the announcement came again to please, please check to see if maybe somebody was leaning up against the call bar.
I glanced over at the hateful man’s huge pointed-toed shoes, where he had them draped over the handicapped railing. One foot was firmly pressed against – yes, you guessed it- the call bar for the disabled ramp. I jabbed him in the ribs as the announcement came over for the third time to please get the hell off the call bar. “I think that’s YOU” I said, pointing at his feet. He scowled at me, and then looked down at his feet, and then finally said, “Oh” and pulled his feet down.
I read my book and turned away from him as the train started moving again. He tried laughing and catching my eye; I just stared at my book. “Learn something new EVERY DAY!” he said heartily, leaning forward and trying to get into my field of vision. I remained a pillar of stone.
His phone rang one last time just before he got off, and since the car was quiet, we all got to hear him say, “Yeah, court’s next week. Yeah, guess I’m fucked- that DUI is gonna stick, that’s what she says. I’m screwed. Yeah, she says I had nothing but some traffic infractions before, but now, you know, I’m looking at traffic felonies. Yeah, that’s right, I am SCREWED.” When he got up and off the car, I glanced over at the old black guy across the aisle from me, who had stared expressionessly ahead during the whole episode; his eyes followed the dickhead as he got off the train, and then he looked at me and laughed.