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Bus/ted

A funny thing happened on the bus ride home tonight.

A stranger decided to videotape me.

OK. Let’s revise “funny.”

Settling in for a 70-block ride home, I am entirely absorbed in work emails/Parks and Rec casting updates. Priorities.

But more than three quarters through the evening schlep, something feels off.

I look up.

There it is. An iPhone’s camera in the hands of a 30 something man—aimed right at me. A man that likely has been recording the entirety of our trip together.

I’m beyond angry.

First off, this isn’t even among my better dresses.

But really, I feel violated. It feels like an assault.

I text a friend immediately.

“Get off the bus, Galli.”

Instead, I move to the back. And realize he is now trying to surreptitiously locate my new position through the reflection in the bus windows.

Fuck this guy.

My stop arrives.

Like the mature woman I am, I leave. Walk to his window. And start my own photo session. Click, click, click. VOGUE, asshole.

He freezes. I smile.

I walk away, beginning a text to my friend with blurry evidence inside a nearby bodega. When shit goes down on First Avenue.

HEY. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

I turn.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? I STOPPED THE DAMN BUS BECAUSE YOU’RE TAKING PEOPLE’S PICTURES?”

The bus driver. Has left the bus. Is yelling at me.

“No! No! Well, ok, yes. But this guy has been recording me the entire trip! I took his photo for….for…”

Does Twitter shaming sound MTA-appropriate?

“FOR EVIDENCE. Sir. Mister. For evidence.”

“HE WAS RECORDING YOU?”

“Yes sir. So I moved, and then he tried to locate me. With his eyes.”

“I’M GETTING THE COPS.”

“Oh. Ummm. Well, I had another thing planned.”

Stop talking, Galli. Let’s not engage in a discussion of social media tactics to thwart lewd men. This is not Weiner Time.

“YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME. HEY- YOU WERE RECORDING HER?!?”

“First amendment! She violated his first amendment!”

A homeless man on the block that watched my photo shoot decides to provide legal counsel.

“She shouldn’t take pictures of people! First amendment! Call the cops!”

Alito? Is that you?

“SHUT UP. Listen, YOU SHOULD HAVE TOLD ME. What am I supposed to do now? I stopped the bus for this. If you don’t want the cops, I have to kick him off. Was this your stop? I can’t leave you with this CREEP.”

We realize that “Law and Order: SVU” is not my chosen viewing program this evening. I say it’s my stop, I don’t think he broke any laws, as gross as he is. That I just want to go home. But don’t kick him off. I don’t have a will.

Through it all, Scorsese stares straight ahead, frozen in his seat. A deer in headlights. A gross, sweaty, shamed deer. His face turns red. He puts on a Yankees hat to shield his eyes from—what exactly? The light of accountability? Does justice shine with the same glow as an M101?

The driver asks again if I’d like to call the cops. I decline. He softens, but sternly reminds me that it’s his job to protect passengers—and I should have done mine by reporting such behavior.

Lesson learned.

Moral of the story?

Go Red Sox.

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2 thoughts on “Bus/ted

  1. CJ says:

    Wow! Just reading about the jerk pissed me off! I’m glad you took his picture. That’s precisely what I hate about the new gadgets. While my little grandson and I were waiting for my daughter and her baby at a recent doctor appointment, my grandson busied himself with a tablet gadget. Next thing I know, he’s showing me pictures of myself he took with it right there. So one cannot be sure if or when someone might be doing this stuff. I didn’t get upset with my grandson, of course. But I pondered how it would bother me if other total strangers were engaged in this behavior. I don’t like the thought at all.

  2. Lee says:

    Does that happen often in America, all that citing of legal amendments at a street level? It’d be bizarre anything like that happening in my country, not least because bus drivers here don’t give a damn about the passengers and are treated as slaves by school children – a view supported by their employers – and because such an open infringement on a passenger’s right to privacy would’ve likely been dealt with sternly and violently within the “community” of the moving bus – and still no one would’ve cared. We are barbarians by comparison.

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