Belated and Inebriated / by Courtney Mehlhaff

So I'm a year older now, and I'm already much wiser. Here's what I've learned: sometimes, you get your birthday present a day late. And sometimes, that birthday present comes in the form of three very drunk people, all in their 50s (or wearing the equivalent amount of life on their faces) who get on your bus.

Not that there's necessarily an appropriate time to be in this condition when the sun's out, but keep in mind this is 8:30 a.m.

The woman boarded first and decided to sit in the very front because, as she was not shy of announcing, the bus driver was wearing a fantastic cologne.  "Ain't nothin' like a good-smellin' man, I don't care what you are!"

The two drunken men then got on. One of them seemed to be her boyfriend, so I'll refer to him as such, though "common-law idiot" might be more appropriate. I'll refer to the other man simply as "friend." They decided to sit in the very back. In case you're not following, we now have a hammered and amorous lady shamelessly hitting on the driver, while her two companions, about five sheets to the wind, have sprawled across the back seat.

You'd think that being separated by an entire bus-length of space would prevent these people from trying to have a "conversation" (in quotes, because I can only loosely define it as such) with each other. Doing so would require literally shouting everything just to be heard, with no regard for the rest of the passengers in between.

You'd think, but you'd be wrong. Here are the highlights.

BOYFRIEND (walking halfway up the aisle with a pack of cigarettes): "Six bucks for these damn things. Damn! I gotta quit smokin."

WOMAN: "You can't smoke those on the bus!"

BOYFRIEND: "I'd rather smoke marijuana. It's cheaper."

WOMAN: "Come over here and let me smell you!"

BOYFRIEND: "Devil woman!"

WOMAN (inexplicably): "Semper fi!"

BOYFRIEND (singing, because the Bee Gees seemed appropriate at this point): "Lonely days, lonely nights . . . where would I be without my woman . . ."

FRIEND: "I gotta take a piss!"

BOYFRIEND: "We'll pull over at the next stop with a shelter."

Author's note: I'm not sure what disturbs me more ... that he considered a bus shelter to be the equivalent of a bathroom, or that he assumed an enormous vehicle designed exclusively for public transportation would veer off-schedule and pull in for a quick pit stop at the urging of his friend's bladder.

FRIEND: (mumbles something unintelligible)

BOYFRIEND: "Hey. Hey! Does a bear shit in the woods? . . . . . . (wait for it, because this revelation is genius) . . . . . . Well, that's what we gotta do."

And that, my friends, is how you get an enormous vehicle designed exclusively for public transportation to screech immediately to a random curb along your bus route just to let you stumble off.

Take that little piece of useful information and wrap it in a bow, why don't you? Happy birthday to me.