On the downtown 358.
In the city I’ll catch the light rail to Beacon Hill where I’ll sit zazen at the temple plus listen to a dharma talk. Should be out by around 8:15, latest. From there, I’ll take the light rail back in to King Street Station and walk to Central Tavern in Pioneer Square, where I’ll chat with Bama, who bounces there, and maybe mooch a beer, or pay for it if I have to.
Just witnessed the strangest interaction right in front of me. Burnout-looking white dude with one of those hipster hats of knitted wool with ear flaps, comes back and says “Excuse me, sir” to the Hispanic dude with a long goatee and a baseball cap that says “Jesus” in silver Gothic letters. The dude’s halfway into a heroin nod or maybe just really drunk.
Hipster Hat says it again, real polite, “Excuse me, sir.”
Guy with Jesus hat opens his eyes.
“I’m just wondering if you’d like this soda.” And he holds out a paper cup of fountain soda, some sort of dark cola, Coke or Dr. Pepper, near full, complete with plastic lid and straw. Hipster Hat explains that Jesus Hat looks pretty out of it and so he thought he could use a pick me up.
Jesus Hat says, “I’m fine…. Just tired, man.”
“Okay. Well, here have this soda.”
Jesus Hat takes it. “Thanks, man.” They fist bump. Then Hipster Hat dude shakes Jesus Hat’s hand.
“Hey, you want this cigarette?” And Hipster pulls a droopy cigarette from his ear. Jesus Hat takes it between two tentative fingers. “You just looked really sleepy to me, man.”
“Bless you,” says Jesus, and closes his eyes as he tucks the cigarette behind his own ear.
And the glassy-eyed white dude in the hipster hat sort of lurches with the turns of the bus, back to his seat right behind the driver.
So what was with all that?
I mean, here’s the thing: Jesus Hat was shitfaced. A minute or so later I watched him lift himself with considerable effort and stumble to the door to get off in Belltown.
I got up to get off when we reached downtown a couple stops later. And as I walked to the front of the bus, I saw that the hipster had a bunch of grungy plastic bags stuffed under his seat. He was homeless, and likely a bit crazy.
After I stepped off the bus, I went down into the light rail tunnel to catch my train to temple.
Mystery solved. Had to be the hat.