The #10 goes through some rough spots in the city, I know them well because they’re riddled with abandoned buildings and factories & etc… that I’ve previously explored & documented. Also it goes right in front of my job so I take the #10 twice daily and it’s a peculiar journey – in the early morning it’s crowded with all the kids going to various charter schools up and down east 93rd – there are a bunch of them – repurposed for a profit, all the city’s abandoned schools are present & all the kids that go to them rely on public transit. Which gets kind of weird here and there. I mean, you keep your eyes on the little, little kids who probably need an eye kept on them, and the bus captain here and there actually has to intervene and yell at them, the kids, in the fashion of a schoolbus driver – it’s pretty crowded and it is weird in the morning to see middle-school and elementary school kids sometimes fighting, sometimes crying all around while you’re on your way to work.
An example of how this looks is that a boy, a little boy – he told us he was 7 but that his birthday is tomorrow, this was a couple of weeks ago, so he’s 8 I guess. And I say he told us, but really he told these busybody ladies who decided to get all in his business. He go on the bus at Woodhill like he does most days, and he went to sit and ride but these ladies got all worked up about him being on the bus alone and were bracing him about his home life & so on – one of them decided not to take her transfer at Kinsman so she could ride all the way with him and make sure he got off at the right place- and this was all loud and charlatan-like about exposing her good works and how she’d saved him from?
Really I can’t tell you – I’m not a fearful person, I know that there is danger in the world, but I know that it’s vastly overstated and that most of my countrymen are huge cowards. I don’t know how to address these matters. The say to me – “you don’t lock your doors? You don’t worry about walking at night?” and no, I don’t. Weirdo. I’m of the persuasion that – if someone breaks into my house or what-have-you – well, hey – Free Guy. Free captive. Cause nobody tells anyone where they’re going when they go to do breakins. Anyhow – this kid can definitely get to school on his own and doesn’t need to be looked after by some clucking hens. I have disdain. A little. But also, you know, good for them trying to be kind – it’s because of the kindness of strangers and the fact that everyone everywhere can count on it that you can put a 7 year old boy on the bus and feel confident that he’ll get to school. What I’m saying is, it’s not that dangerous in the world.
Of course, going homeward, not quite home – I have to go see Larry – it’s the day before Christmas eve – I’m heading home in the real darkness after work and it’s not yet even 5, but it’s dark and I’m going to University Circle to see my old friend. As in, he is old. Larry doesn’t leave his building too much so I go to see him. It’s on my way home anyway – so not much of a thing. And, I get on the #10 going home & it’s late, extra late, and I barely get on because of how the busdiver kind of skips past the stop, I don’t know – she’s being weird- but she’s always weird. This driver, she’s not the easiest, she’s kind of all over the place, on-time wise and stopping at appropriate stops-wise. Anyhow there’s a guy, a kid, I guess – hanging out up front with the driver & it’s a thing to get past him and then sit down among the oldsters, it’s mainly old people and kind of dissolute youth on the #10 in the evening – I don’t know what’s up with the old, a few people going home from work, like me, honest laborers y’know – and weird kids with weird destinations and weird behavior – I don’t know, this kid on the front seems like one of them, mysterious post-adolescent riding.
The driver feigns a breakdown – it’s pretty clear that she’s feigned it because she just stops the bus, I’m sitting in the front and see it all happen. She stops the bus and all the doors are closed up & she says, the bus is broke. A few people try to get off but she won’t open the doors and then I realize that we’re in the middle of some kind of official style shenanigan. So I settle in with my reading. The police are on the scene pretty shortly and the driver jumps out of the bus – like, runs away to the police – reassuring right? She runs out and the police come on board – 7 guys, all guns drawn and commanding everyone to sit. They go through all the seats and through the back of the bus and somewhere, tossed under one of the seats they find a ‘bb gun’. This whole affair takes an hour to finish and never for a second was I buying the ‘bb gun’. Gun found they still won’t let anyone off except the kid from earlier – the guy hanging out in front with the driver –turns out he saw the guy with the gun in the first place and was telling the driver and was scared, so that’s why he was up front. He gets taken off – a few police hang out on the bus, one gets out the recordings and plays them back – consulting with the driver, they eventually pick out the guy who carried the gun on the bus and take him off the bus.
There’s a whole lot of discussion about what is going on and when we’re finally allowed to leave the bus, I do – real quick – deciding I’m happy to walk the rest of the way – deciding I’d rather be outside than shut up in the bus I just walk to Larry’s rather than wait for the next bus or whatever.
In the end, walking, I try to make sense of the RTA & the CPD’s strategy – which is apparently, to make it as easy as possible for any criminal type to take hostages on the bus? To basically force them to take hostages. Except the dude got arrested & didn’t take hostages – and… And right, I don’t know that you’re not allowed to take a gun on the bus- people can have whatever guns they want in Ohio – but, of course- that’s one of those bill-o’-rights deals that applies to white-male-property owners, so I guess the kid needed arresting?
But yeah, I saw how the CPD and the Transit deal with the young black man with a suspicious BB Gun in the post-Tamir Rice (poor kid, that poor kid.) Cleveland.