I’ve lived in two major cities in my life- Minneapolis and Tampa. I firmly believe in city living, and if I wanted less civilization I’d move way the hell out into the sticks and have a hobby farm or a cat refuge. Two months ago I would have said that of the two cities I’ve lived in, Tampa definitely has the strangest people. There’s nothing like driving down Nebraska Avenue after dark. You will see some stuff. However, yesterday during my normal commute on the bus from work to Dad’s house I had to give pause as to where to find the weirdest people. First there was this (I recommend actually listening to it for the full effect). I don’t know if the “urban chicken” phenomenon is indicative of a growing weirdness among Minneapolitans, or more of a willingness to jump on any bandwagon presented to them. Although I tend to lean towards the latter, I do recall a hot day right outside of Ybor City with Mom and Tom where we stopped at a rather frightening looking gas station and a rooster ran out and starting pecking at Tom’s shoe laces. That was clearly weirdness and the neighborhood didn’t appear as if a bandwagon had rode through for a good 50 years. But I am willing to bet that the people who keep urban chickens in Minneapolis are very different than the people who keep gas stations on the outskirts of Ybor City.
What really got me thinking about this topic yesterday was the drunk guy on the bus who decided his point would be better made by brandishing a knife. He wasn’t particularly threatening though he had made me a little uncomfortable from the moment he got on the bus with his friend (also drunk). This discomfort was not intense, more what you feel when your instincts perk up a little because something is out of the ordinary. The whole trip from 66th and Lyndale to when I finally bailed near Uptown he had been shouting loudly, clapping his hands and dancing. He wasn’t visibly upset and I have no idea why he pulled the knife out. Not that there needed to be a reason in his obviously unstable mind. The moment he brought it out, every passenger on the bus flinched and appeared uneasy. The hugely obese guy sitting in the sideways seats towards the front (I swear he’s on every bus in the whole city) leaned to the bus driver and alerted him to the situation. The bus driver waited until he was in a position to pull over. When the knife-waver felt the bus stop and go into park, he put the knife away. The bus driver approached him and asked if it was true he had a weapon. “Well, it isn’t a weapon,” said the drunk guy, “it’s a tool.” Pretty clever for being so impaired. The bus driver didn’t appear to want to start an argument with the guy so he told him if he wanted to finish his ride he had better keep “whatever it was” put away. And he did. But it didn’t shut him up and I was relieved when we finally arrived at my stop.
Needless to say after I told this story to Dad and Stepmom, I have the car for a few days.