Z. Madison

For when you're relaxing at home or killing company time - Z. Madison's here for you.

9.24.2006

Never Trust A Grown Man In Crocs

I grew up in The Hamptons. As most of my mother's side is still out that way, I make the schlep even during the off-season when the occasion warrants. As LIRR can't seem to get it together past Speonk, the Hampton Jitney busline is my transportation vehicle of choice.

For those virginal to the experience, riding the Jitney during the Summer is like you're back in 8th Grade all over again (just with better shoes). During the off-season, the commute is usually more civilized. Once you get through the midtown tunnel and everyone's settled, they pass out your drink, snack and paper before the first stop in Flushing Meadows. Then they collect your fare and it's smooth sailing until Manorville. Now I've seen all kinds of ego smackdowns, arguments over paying the $10 dog seat fee, celeb sitings, random reunions and your general run of the mill Type A antics on the countless times I've embarked on the two hour tour. Until yesterday, the summoning of the police department has not made the Jitney Drama list.

We'll call him...Dennis. Imagine Michael Moore wearing Dennis The Menace's usual blue and white striped tee and khakis. And beige Crocs. I was in the front half of the bus and deep into my NY Times and therefore wasn't aware of Dennis sitting in the back. As we pulled into Manorville for transfers, Dennis hijacked my life and that of everyone on our bus and the second Jitney waiting to whisk passengers off to the wannabe-Hampton destinations of Quogue, Hampton Bays and the like.

As half the bus emptied, I heard a commotion to the rear. Dennis was having words with the matronly African American bus attendant over the fare. I returned to my Metro Section.
Now there was yelling. By the other passengers. "YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!!" "Oh my God!" "What are you doing?" Pulling a Linda Blair, I snapped around just in time to see the attendant give him a HARD shove.

The passengers in the back of the bus are all in a tizzy and I can't tell whether they're yelling at Dennis or the attendant. Spewing epithets all the while, Dennis slowly removed his hefty self and enormous duffel off the bus.

Someone yelled to the attendant to call the cops.

Like kids who'd just witnessed a school yard brawl, all the remaining passengers became gossip whores and word quickly spread that:

1. He was an asshole since embarking back in Manhattan.
2. He didn't want to pay.
3. He shoved HER first.

And now he was safely within the depths of the adjacent bus. This didn't sit well with two early 30something ladies and with a harrumph, they collected their Vuittons and made a beeline for our driver who was just about to close up the baggage storage in the basin of the bus. Like the rest of the passengers seated on the right side, I pressed my face to the window in anticipation of the drama about to unfold. Anger erupted on our 30ish African American Drivers face and he stormed back on the bus and yelled out "Marianne(?), You OK?" Then whipped out his phone which would remain affixed to his left ear for the next twenty minutes.

Now, the other driver, oblivious to anything that's gone on saunters over to see what the fuss is about. Marianne(?) goes outside to calm our driver down and explain the situation to Oblivious who now looks like he wished he was anywhere else.

Dennis disembarks the adjacent bus, making his triumphant return. A chorus of Oh Gods sounds all around our cabin. Dennis is flailing his arms and making grand gestures telling his side of the tale. The Vuittons are adding their two cents much to his dismay. Our angry bus driver is having none of Dennis and while still holding the cellphone to his left ear, is now waving Dennis out of his face with his right arm. The passenger behind me is laughing his ass off and I offer up that you just can't trust a grown man in Crocs. Dennis follows Marianne(?) back onto our bus and says don't call the cops, just leave me here, blah blah. Marianne(?), who I must say remained quite cool through the whole thing (return shove aside), wants nothing to do with him or the situation anymore. Dennis returns to the depths of his new bus.

A few 60something ladies go out for a smoke since it's clear that we're not going anywhere anytime soon. Dennis, apparently also in great need of a smoke, reemerges and drags on what looks to be a Bensen & Hedges 120 (seriously, would you have expected anything less?) in a more flamboyant manner than Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote.

At this point, the crotchety old ladies in the front start a let's just leave him here and get back on the road movement. Much like The Wave at a football game, the rest of us pick it up. Ah, how quickly the tides can turn. Ten minutes later, our driver's still got the phone to his ear, Oblivious is just standing there, Marianne(?) is ignoring Dennis' over the top apologetic yet snarky overtures and Crotchety & Co. have the whole bus yelling "Let's Go!"

I'm still confused as to why the following happened: Dennis gets back on his bus. Marianne(?) gathers her belongings from our bus and proceeds to board Dennis' bus which Oblivious then rolls out of the parking lot. Our driver finally removes the cellphone from his ear and snarls at us before starting up the engine and finally getting us back on the road.

Pacified, Crotchety & Co. simmer down. The guy behind me is still laughing as he leans over to my seat and explains that the woman behind him is crying on her cell phone. In fact, three minute rule be damned, everyone's now on their cell/treo/crackberry to whoever's going to be there to pick them up.

After all that? We rolled into Southampton ten minutes early.

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