Wednesday, December 24, 2008

City Life: Small Wonder on the 49 Bus

Yesterday I was riding the 49 bus up Van Ness Ave. around 12:50 pm. I was sitting in the back of the bus and I overheard an African-American guy and a Caucasian kid having the conversation below. The African-American guy was wearing a green track suit jacket with thin white stripes, jeans, short afro, and huge black aviators. The kid was tall and lanky wearing skinny black jeans, black jacket, and had a red scarf draped around his neck. His blond spiky hair was covered by a hat. He was holding a copy of the DVD "Planet Earth".

African-American guy ("Guy")(gestures at the DVD): "Hey, I seen that. How much did you get for it?"

Kid: "About 50 bucks."

Guy: "Man, I watch that shit on PBS all the time. I saw one called 'Under the Sea.'" And they go down deep in that one, man. I mean deeper than Jacques Cousteau. Like seven miles down there. And it's all dark and shit. And there are weird things down there, man. I mean that shit look likes it came from another PLANET!"

I smile and I'm tempted to turn around and engage the man in conversation, but decide not to. Another African-American man is in the middle of scamming some folks with the three cup shuffle trick that he's performing on a red fabric covered board. He scams them by taking bets. An Asian guy heckles him and we all laugh. The three cup shuffle guy continues with his scam without missing a beat as the bus rumbles on.

I've always been fascinated by deep sea life in the abyssal and hadal zones, but I have met very few people who have even heard of these animals unless they work at the aquarium. Hearing this man talk about it on the 49 bus pulled up a warm feeling of hope, and small wonder. I guess television is good for something.

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