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Wednesday, June 4, 2008


posted by on June 4 at 12:45 PM


I just got back from Olympia, and in case you were wondering, there is no whipped topping on the Greyhound bus, non-dairy or otherwise. There are, however, still people who insist on interrupting your reading. On the ride down to Olympia, I had my headphones on, my hood up, and was reading last week’s New Yorker article about the architecture of the upcoming Beijing Olympics, “Out of the Blocks,” when there was a tap on my shoulder. I ignored it. There was another tap, so I pulled back my hood a bit and pointed to my headphones. Still, the tapper, seated behind me and across the aisle, asked, “What blocks is they talking about?” Rather than explain to him that the title seemed to be a pun referring both to the Beijing Olympics’ “outside-the-box” architecture and the starting blocks of a foot race, I turned to him, headphones still on, and said, “I’m sorry. I’m reading, and I’m not interested in talking to you about it.” He got riled and snapped back, “Don’t give me no attitude, I’ll whip your ass…” before trailing off into some threats I couldn’t quite make out over my music. The leg room was merely adequate.

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like it or not, greyhound is for the poor, uneducated, and often convicted demographics.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 4, 2008 12:57 PM

I think you were the dick on this one, for whatever that's worth.

All you had to do was say "It's an article about the architecture of the Summer Olympics in China," then put your hood back where it was and turn back around. He'd have gotten the message, I think.

Just sayin'. Sounds like he was curious and you *did* give him attitude.

Posted by well... | June 4, 2008 1:00 PM

That was a dickheaded response.

Posted by Blunderplank | June 4, 2008 1:01 PM

Ask Poe how he lost his bus pass.

Posted by Mansi | June 4, 2008 1:03 PM

mass transet is for losers

Posted by hatemasstranset | June 4, 2008 1:04 PM

I'm with you Eric. Having a book or magazine in hand doesn't mean it's time to start an impromptu book club with a stranger.

"How is it?"
"It was really good until some random moron interrupted me."

Posted by Chris B | June 4, 2008 1:07 PM

I think Mr. Poe's proposed response was even politer, if you can believe that. Indeed, you were the dick by far.

Posted by special fred | June 4, 2008 1:07 PM

This is why I won't ride in Steerage.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 4, 2008 1:07 PM

eric i think it's understandable that you asked for some space but i don't doubt that you did it in an offensive fashion. i've heard several accounts from people all over seattle that you're a terribly rude and self absorbed person.

Posted by it's mass transit (loser) | June 4, 2008 1:12 PM

A little conceited to think he wants to "talk" to you about it. He was probably just curious, wanted to ask, and would've been fine with a straightforward answer.

Anyway, nobody wants to talk to you now. Mission accomplished!

Posted by Gloria | June 4, 2008 1:13 PM

@2 - yeah, but how much you wanna bet if Eric had given a "nicer" response like the one you suggest, the dude would've interpreted that as an invitation to continue the conversation.

I'm sure the guy was just being friendly, but c'mon! Hood pulled up/headphones on/reading a magazine = I don't feel like being social right now.

Posted by Hernandez | June 4, 2008 1:13 PM

Didn't Dan have an article about how he avoided a conversation on a plane by pretending to be asleep? Everyone in the comments was like "Just be direct and tell him that you don't feel like having a conversation." Now that we a post like that, everyone's super-sensitive. Pick a response, people.

Posted by JC | June 4, 2008 1:17 PM

The goal when riding Greyhound is to minimize your chance of being stabbed and/or infected with Hep C. You fail.

Posted by Big Sven | June 4, 2008 1:22 PM

i think your comment was succinct and candid. You were honest and not rude at all, and to those who think it was rude, then you need to look at why someone *should* do something. think before you speak.

Posted by Jeff | June 4, 2008 1:23 PM

JC@12, the rules are different on a plane than on a bus. Treat being on a bus like being in county lockup, and you'll be fine.

Posted by Big Sven | June 4, 2008 1:24 PM

The tapper was an individual with poor social skills who was looking for a nice long chat and would have probably continued to try to converse had you been tactful. That said, had you cut him off politely and were cursed for your effort we would all sympathize.

Posted by inkweary | June 4, 2008 1:24 PM

i absolutely hate smalltalk with strangers (and have ridden a greyhound from portland to st paul, so i know the drill) but eric you sound like a huge prick.

you just politely say it's about the olympics and put your headphones back on; repeat this until he gets the idea.

Posted by coolidge | June 4, 2008 1:24 PM

Why ride Greyhound at all if you're just going to Oly? Amtrak stops there, there's not much difference in price, and you can not interact with a better class of people.

Posted by COMTE | June 4, 2008 1:26 PM

Because the Amtrak station (in Lacey) is another 45 minute bus ride away from downtown Olympia.

Posted by Eric Grandy | June 4, 2008 1:37 PM

Oh, and Amtrak's schedule is a little less flexible.

Posted by Eric Grandy | June 4, 2008 1:38 PM


Haha, I read that as "mass transient". Probably not too far from the truth.

Posted by Lou | June 4, 2008 1:40 PM

I'm sorry to hear about the stress and discomfort of your ride on a GREYHOUND BUS.

I too feel you pain--I was at a Subway the other day and this guy standing too close to me had b.o., the nerve! And he breathed heavily through his nose while he at his sandwich.

Also, I was waiting for the 174, and this weird lady with a bunch of Safeway bags filled with bread crumbs--cut in front of me.

Shit is crazy out there!

I just want to tell all of my soldiers out there, such as yourself, to stay strong!

Posted by Takoyakidanobaba | June 4, 2008 1:48 PM

Anyone tries to talk to me on a bus and I'll cut them.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 4, 2008 1:48 PM

he probably just didn't realize how important you are.

understandable mistake.

Posted by brett | June 4, 2008 1:52 PM

I understand why you don't want to take the train but you can also get there by public transit. Take one of the 590 series buses to either the Tacoma Dome or Lakewood/512 and then transfer to a 600 series and you're in downtown Oly.

Posted by cuyahoga | June 4, 2008 2:09 PM

you did right. You were not interested in talking you signalled that with headphones on and hood up and he broke into your space, rudely and stupidly.

thank god you didn't fail to reprimand him.

ever so mildly, by being frank for once.

How's he going to learn to not bug people if those whom he bugs have to be all polite and nice and mushy and polite and fake?

Posted by PC | June 4, 2008 2:10 PM

A nice aggressive response in the land of passive aggressive people!

Posted by HL | June 4, 2008 2:18 PM

The real issue here is how Eric's Greyhound ride contributes to his war on local rock clubs and all-ages spaces.

Posted by christopher hong | June 4, 2008 2:18 PM

eric maybe you should reformulate this as a question and send it to the Weekly's "Ask an Uptight Seattleite." I'm sure he'd concur with your approach.

Posted by brett | June 4, 2008 2:23 PM

Oh my GAWD, Eric, you sure showed him! This is something you and your hipster friends can laugh about over lattes at some trendy coffee bar on Capitol Hill, I'm sure.

What an asshole thing to do, yo.

Seriously, it would have been so easy just to give a succinct explanation --- you are a journalist, after all --- and then go about your day. What's the problem?

No, instead, you decided you were above this person and would rather demean them then perhaps actually provide them with some information that they otherwise were unaware of.

I once road a Greyhound bus from LA to Spokane and was freaked out for my life because I was sitting next to a homeless, delusional man who smelled and was playing with an invisible sword all while staring at a 13-year-old girl in a tank top across the aisle.

But I still talked to him, because I'm not a dick.

Posted by Sam | June 4, 2008 2:26 PM

tell me, eric, was the man a brother or a honky?

oh, well, this younger generation has no manners at all. i'd have been happy to answer his question! i love talking to all sorts of people in all sorts of places. remind me to avoid you at the next slog happy hour, lest i feel your wrath, sunny jim.

Posted by scary tyler moore | June 4, 2008 2:34 PM

@30: That's on you for talking to a homeless delusional guy.

I would like to point out that Eric didn't give a description of the person. All I know is that it's a he. Depending on their demeanor, I might've said the same thing.

Posted by godsactionfigure | June 4, 2008 2:38 PM

Nice seat, Mr. Crack-Spider.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | June 4, 2008 2:39 PM

I don't blame you, if you're at all nice to people on the bus they decide you're their best friend and try to have hour long conversations with you. I never have the nerve to be that direct, so I usually use the "I can't hear you because I'm listening to my ipod" or "I'm asleep. REALLY asleep. Drooling on myself asleep." defence.

Usually works but apparently this guy was determined.

Posted by SDizzle | June 4, 2008 2:43 PM

Takoyakidanobaba @22, the best Slog handle that makes no sense to you at all.

Posted by lostboy | June 4, 2008 2:45 PM

I think you should have continued to ignore him. Even a bonehead gets the idea eventually and you don't risk the retaliatory response.

Posted by Vince | June 4, 2008 2:52 PM

That was an asshole thing to do. I understand getting annoyed by the constant barrage of crazy crazy/homeless/perverts. However, it would have been really simple to give a quick answer and then put back on your headphones.

Posted by Ashley | June 4, 2008 2:53 PM

I'm not sure I understand where people are becoming so pissed off about Eric's response. He very pointedly said he didn't want to talk, and even said "I'm sorry". I don't see anything rude...

Perhaps this is all just predispositions to Grandy himself. I'm sure if he had a "politer" response, all the negative commentors in here would have still been negative.

Posted by an imaginary | June 4, 2008 2:58 PM

Eric: Well done. Most people in this town would have answered, been roped into a conversation they didn't wanna have, then spend time after the trip bitching about a conversation they didn't wanna have because they didn't butch up and blow the guy off.

Posted by Jason Josephes | June 4, 2008 2:59 PM

The comments in Dan's old post did say to be direct... but nice and direct. As in, "I'm sorry, but I have some reading to do and I'd rather not talk right now" said with a smile and an apologetic tone. Tough to do politely (I prefer the passive aggressive pretending to be so absorbed you don't notice and/or one word answers), but possible.

Eric made no effort to be nice or polite, so I think calling him a dick is warranted.

Posted by Julie | June 4, 2008 3:03 PM


"Takoyakidanobaba @22, the best Slog handle that makes no sense to you at all."

Well, my slog handle does make sense to me: it's a play on words of the popular Japanese street food and the Tokyo district, since you are quizzing me...

For those who don't know --- you betta' ax' somebody!

Posted by Takoyakidanobaba | June 4, 2008 3:05 PM

Well done, Eric! How dare this low-class ruffian attempt to speak to you, the esteemed Stranger writer. He should know not to talk to people that are obviously much smarter than he. Way to put him in his place!

"What blocks is they talking about?" Hah! He sure talks funny! No way you'd be able to have a meaningful conversation with him, much less treat him with an ounce of common respect. A doff of my cap to you, good sir!

Posted by MB | June 4, 2008 3:06 PM

I'm with Eric on this one, though he could have been politer, Answer the question then quickly put your headphones back on. If he taps you again, then give him attitude.

Posted by elswinger | June 4, 2008 3:06 PM

And not to get off subject, I think this post is worthy of being a headline in the Onion:

A MAN WAS RUDE TO ME ON A GREYHOUND BUS. Share your thoughts >>

Posted by Takoyakidanobaba | June 4, 2008 3:13 PM

Uh, I didn't lose my bus pass. I lost my cool.

Some punk had his stupid Chris Rock bullshit blasting so loud the entire fucking bus could hear. I politely nudged him and asked him to turn it down. He gave me a shiteating grin and turned it up and went back to looking out the window. I then politely backhanded his headphones off and then told him now he's going to turn it off. A couple people were shocked, namely him, and he obeyed. Big whoop.

And I can't help but stress the major differences between Greyhound and Metro. If I did that on Greyhound, I'd most likely be knifed or shot.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 4, 2008 3:14 PM

The guy should have rubbed shit on your hoodie and stuck you with a steak knife.

Lemme guess, the guy you were such a dismissive dick to was likely black...Correct?

Would you have done the same if he was a hot blond chick?

Posted by ecce homo | June 4, 2008 3:21 PM

the inherent superiority of the personal automobile is demonstrated succinctly.

Posted by max solomon | June 4, 2008 3:28 PM

Eric, seriously? Way to be an asshole.

Posted by *rolls eyes* | June 4, 2008 3:30 PM

“What blocks is they talking about?”
“Don’t give me no attitude, I’ll whip your ass…”

Yeah... I call shnanagins on that. Was this person perchance drinking from a comedy oversized jug with XXX on the side. Or possibly "Do'in some whitl'n"

Posted by Ben Weldon | June 4, 2008 3:37 PM

Takoyakidanobaba @41, your handle made sense to me, too--notice the links I embedded @35--and gave me a welcome chuckle. The compliment was sincere (if admittedly a little backhanded).

I stand by my (friendly) point--the joke is aimed at a pretty narrow niche, ne?

Posted by lostboy | June 4, 2008 3:42 PM



Posted by Osakanomiyaki | June 4, 2008 4:03 PM

Eric just missed a rare opportunity to meet with DJ Fuck You Up On The Bus, Uppity Motherfucker!!

Posted by michael strangeways | June 4, 2008 4:09 PM

lostboy@50, sorry... I didn't see your links! Thanks for appreciating the cross-cultural/linguistic joke.

Even when I was in Tokyo, I thought that one could have had a warmer reception.

Guess I wasn't ready to let it go.


Posted by Takoyakidanobaba | June 4, 2008 4:13 PM

That reminds me of one time I was on the 49 in my seat tossing one off minding my own business and some rude ass starts talking to me. He was interrupting it was just plain rude. Now I only do it when I sit in a seat my myself.

Posted by Busboy | June 4, 2008 4:13 PM

agreed @ 40

Posted by tiffany | June 4, 2008 4:17 PM

This entry says more about the commenters than Eric. I enjoy riding the bus, and I've had to say the same as Eric to some people on a bus, plane, car, subway, train, etc. over time.

That said, this:

Eric just missed a rare opportunity to meet with DJ Fuck You Up On The Bus, Uppity Motherfucker!!

...was truly funny!

Posted by mackro mackro | June 4, 2008 5:24 PM

Eric - You're living in the wrong town. You should live down here in Marin County, Ca. You would fit right in. We got the starBUCKS, we got the mersaydeez, the beeemdouble-yous, the maids and gardeners.

Shit man, you would love reading your magazine down here.

Posted by Orson | June 4, 2008 9:16 PM

"Sorry. Can't talk. Sore throat."

Usually works for me, but might not solve the problem if the other person is only interested in finding a listener. Then, it's ear plugs and a nap.

Posted by Bauhaus | June 4, 2008 10:23 PM

What exactly is rude about the words "I'm sorry," that can be conveyed via text. Is Eric using an arrogant font face or something? Or maybe being direct and being polite are mutually exclusive for many people.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | June 4, 2008 11:52 PM

Also, I'd like to add that calling Eric an asshole or saying that he is rude is such an impolite, hipster thing to do. Please learn some manners.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | June 4, 2008 11:54 PM

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