Thursday, April 20, 2006

420 on Hippie Hill

I'm back at work now, but broken down and wispy long before close of business. I leave the office early this afternoon, climbing onto the bus in my post-surgical fog; still flattened and grim from pain pills and the last drams of anesthetic working its way out of my body.

I barely notice the lavish sunshine after weeks of rain.

My way onto the bus is impeded; the driver is arguing with an unseen passenger, the driver's braids clacking as she shakes her head:

"You gotta get rid of the cup. I'm not moving until you hand it up."

Other passengers are getting into the act, now, one calling up to the driver: "It's empty, the cup is empty. He just turned it over in his hand."

"I don't care, you gotta hand it up!"

A deep voice booms out from inside, "Let's get this bus moving! We gotta be there for 420 on Hippie Hill, 420 on Hippie Hill, children."

Finally I'm able to move in, navigating around a red toy wagon and the owner of the deep voice, a black man in his sixties, carrying a staff topped with tassels, raffia and plastic leis. He wears a tall felt hat; the brim is laced with rainbow colored fur, the underside turned up to show white stars on a blue background. The top, I see as I pass, is ringed with marijuana leaves. He carries an American flag and waves it at me.

"Happy Thursday," he says, with a big smile.

I can't help smiling back.

The other passengers finally convince the driver to Let it go already, and the bus is away. 420 Man's voice rolls through the bus, rising and falling. I can't tell if he's talking to someone he knows, or to the bus at large. Maybe it's a little of both.

"...if everyone smoked cannabis, it would heal the world...420 on Hippie Hill, children, everything good you can imagine...pot lasagna, pot and barbeque chicken, mm-mm!...that stuff comes from Mother Earth, it's all organic!...Mm, you can see the smoke from here!..."

A blonde guy is talking in German on his cell phone. A greyish looking kid, covered with tattoos, pulls his hood further down over his face. At least five passengers scattered around the bus are drinking forbidden coffee, munching sandwiches blithely.

420 Man goes on:

" Steroids, crack, meth amphetamines - where do they come from?"

Unexpectedly, a hipster chick in front of me answers him, "From men, made by men!"

"...and coca, cannabis?"

"...from Mother Earth," sings Hipster Girl.

"This is our stop," announces 420 Man, standing up & shaking his staff, "Happy Thursday! Happy Earth Day!"

I want to follow him out, go where he's going. I can see, down on the street, crowds of hippies wandering into the park.

On his way out, he stops to wink at those of us left behind:

"I want a greeeen house on my Brokeback Mountain!"

The bus doors close on his laugh.


Caryn said...

What a happy guy. He seems the type to spread his happiness, too. That can't be bad, can it?

I'd forgotten that it's Earth Day. It's also, I think, Hitler's birthday and the anniversary of Columbine. Cheerful thoughts for the 20th. And I only remember the Columbine thing because I was in Littleton when it happened, at a job fair looking for a teaching assignment in Colorado, and my friend Andrea and I wondered what was up with all the firetrucks and other sirens; we figured it had to be one hell of a wreck. Then we got to her house and her boyfriend had the television on, and he turned to us, all pale, and told us what had happened.

anne said...

It's people like that who make me enjoy my bus rides.
Yesterday was Earth Day, today is Grounation Day... It's gonna be a good weekend for some.
I hope you have a great one too.

Geo said...

This gives me such a feeling of melancholy. Billy, you're on my mind.

Bones said...

I miss MUNI -- thanks, Chems, for the story!

Chemical Billy said...

Caryn, I'd completely forgotten about Columbine and this date. Have you read Vernon God Little?

Anne, yeah, this is what it's all about, yes?

Geo - oh no, I didn't mean to incite melancholy! Things are looking up.

Bones, I can't tell you how good it is to be back on the bus, strange as it sounds.

Bones said...

I'm glad you're back on the bus, too, Chems.

Caryn said...

CB, I haven't read it, but I've heard it's good. One you'd recommend?

azuremonkey said...

Awesome. I too was alomst lured to several 420 parties last Thursday, but I resisted, going home instead to slip into sweats and watch taped Daily Shows on my TV.

Am I starting to show my age?