Saturday, February 10, 2007

Guys on a train

It is amusing, the people you see on public transport.

There was Caprica Six's younger sister... Sideshow Bob's younger brother (not Cecil, the one they don't talk about)... the guy offering to swap Xanax for a cigarette... yes, people are strange and wonderful and terrible.

The other day, I noticed a pair of Aussie blokes chatting on the train. The older fellow, let's call him Bert, had left his bike leaning up against the train door, and when the train stopped at the next station the younger fellow (Ernie) opened the door to get on. Naturally the bike fell on him.

Okay, I thought to myself. Bert's overqualified for Village Idiot.

But as Ernie and Bert chatted, I had to revise my opinion. Ernie was nothing special -- just another hot-headed, tattooed 17-22 year-old with delusions of machismo. But Bert, well, if you get past the lack of vocabulary and the thick working-class Ocker accent, it was kind of like watching the older, experienced hunter gently and not-unkindly bring a young hunter back down to earth after his first kill. A nice antelope, he might as well have been saying, now let's talk about lions.

Ernie, full of Attitude, would make some sweeping claim, like "I hate all cops, they're all bastards, if I could get one alone I'd belt him in the face, I don't care who he is" [smash fist into palm of hand]. Then Bert would gently introduce another perspective: "Yeah, I know, some cops are bastards, but I'm still alive because of them" and then go on to tell the story of the time he was attacked and knifed in the street, and only survived because the police saved his life. While Ernie big-shotted himself for knowing tae-kwon-do, Bert talked about the street crime in Los Angeles and how lucky he was not to have been mugged, and how little good a black-belt is against hardened gang members with guns.

It just goes to show, people can be surprising.