I remember the first (and thus far only) time I was ever called a n*gger. One morning I got on the 5 heading downtown from my house in the Richmond and a white guy got on after me. He wasn’t dressed very well and looked kind of dirty. As I walked to the back I heard him yelled out, “Yo, ma nigga!”. I kept walking, assuming that he couldn’t have been talking to me since I don’t normally associate myself with that word. But then he kept going, saying, “Ey, ey, ma nigga!” and since there was no one else on the bus I realized that he must have been talking to me. I turned around and asked what he needed, and he asked me if he could use my phone. He looked a bit sketchy so I asked him why he needed it. He said that he would have used his own phone, but apparently it wasn’t working after he had left it in his pocket while having sex with his girlfriend’s best friend in the waters off of Ocean Beach. Now he needed my phone to call his girlfriend and work things out. At this point I decided that I didn’t really want to give this guy my phone, so I lied and told him that I didn’t have my phone on me. This really upset him and he looked genuinely worried about his relationship with this girl. He took out his own phone and asked if I knew how to fix it, and I told him I didn’t. He then tried taking it apart and putting it back together, but I guess the saltwater had already done its damage.
He ended up sitting in the very last row and I was in the row in front of him, both of us facing forward. As we continued toward downtown other people began getting on, and each time someone got on he would ask them if he could use their phone, but no one would let him. We were probably half-way there when suddenly I heard my phone start ringing. I quickly stuffed my hand down my pants pocket and shut it off, but it was too late. The guy started yelling angrily, “Whose phone is that?! Whose fucking phone is that?!” I stood stark still, hoping he hadn’t figured out I was a liar. He kept yelling for a bit but I guess he couldn’t figure out whose phone it was because he eventually quieted down.
Finally we got downtown, which is apparently where this guy was going too. I guess this 5 was taking a slightly different route, and when the bus driver unexpectedly called “last stop” the guy went up to the front of the bus and started yelling at the bus driver. The driver and the man exchanged words and all of a sudden this guy grabbed onto one of the railings running along the ceiling of the bus and, holding himself up by his arms, began using his legs to kick the Plexiglas half-door that separates the driver from the rest of the bus, all the while cursing the driver. The driver was trying to keep his calm and was saying, over and over again, “Sir, you need to stop, sir, you need to stop”. Eventually the driver began raising his voice as well, and the man stopped and just got off the bus, muttering. And as he got off a total stranger yelled at the bus driver, “Yeah, fuck you!”