[Sociological fieldnotes that I dug up when I should have been studying for Remedies.]
I get to the bus stop, and I see two of the buses spread far apart. The bus in the back is out of service. Another bus comes in, drops off its biological cargo, and leaves. I keep sitting on the bench. Operator 75 walks toward me from the Westwood Village direction. This is the first conversation that I’ve had with him outside of the bus. 75: “Hey, what’s up man?” Me: “Just chillin'” 75: “You can get on.” Me: “Okay.” I stick a quarter into the slot and thank him, to which he responds in his usual fashion, “Alright, man.” Proving the saying that humans are creatures of habit, I take a seat at the front of the bus near the handicapped spots. 75 leaves to punch today’s day passes. When he gets on the bus, I converse with him, meaning we say more than hi, for the first time.
75: “So you’re going to Dianne Feinstein’s office?” (He pronounces it Fein-steen.)
Me (taken aback): “I’m sorry?”
75: “So you’re getting off at Dianne Feinstein’s office?” (Still pronouncing it wrong.)
Me: “Oh yeah, I intern there.”
75: “What was the first reaction to your new hairstyle?” (He points to my hair.
Me (chuckling): “Shock. Like, ‘Oh my God, what the hell is he doing?'”
75 laughs. He continues, “You get a lot of stares?”
Me: “Yeah, definitely…I think they got used to it.”
75: “It was just that initial shock. Just that initial shock.”
I get off the bus, thanking 75 hurriedly as I twist and contort to dodge the people coming on the bus.
I get into the office building, and sure enough, I see Manny, but as an added bonus, another security guard is also there that I’ve seen before but never really talked to. He is an older, balding man, sporting a mustache. He has a weathered face and Southern European or Middle Eastern looks. Manny swaggers over to me with lips pouted.
Me: “Nice hair cut!”
Manny: “What’s up, man!”
I extend my palm to slap hands but instead he offers a fist so we pound it.
Me: “I like the haircut!”
Manny: “Thanks, man.”
Me: “It’s really clean…”
Manny: “Gotta represent!”
Me (laughs): “Represent…”
Manny: “How’s your foot?”
I give him a salute and he gives me a peace sign. I get into the elevator. Three guys, Germanic looking yuppie-ish types, are waiting for me. They are all wearing striped dress shirts and slacks and carrying coffees in their right hand like a pack of corporate robots. Despite the fact that they are all in their late 20s or early 30s, they are still somewhat knowledgeable in current events, talking about the recent drug bust at SDSU.
1: “They had cocaine…put all that…”
2: “Dealers? Were they doing it?”
1: “It was an ongoing thing. The sting.”
1: “It was a guy from Theta Chi. Emailed his clients. ‘Me and my boys…'”
As they exit, I catch the first guy answering, “Ha! I mean…that dipshit…”
I get up to the 9th floor, and I am promptly greeted by Ali. Ali: “Hey!” Me: “Good morning! How’s it going?” Ali: “Good…” We make our way into the main reception area. Deran: “Hey.” Me: “Good morning!” Deran (mechanically): “How’s your day?” Me: “Good…my foot’s getting better! I mean, I can wear two dress shoes now!” Deran blinks with somewhat of a blank stare on his face. (Failed humor.) Mike comes in from his office: “So what did you think about the turnout?” (referring to the primaries from the previous day) Deran (matter of factly): “It’s a done deal.” Mike (skeptically): “It’s a done deal?” Deran: “I mean, unless Obama has some sort of Nazi pedophile priest…” Mike: “You think she’ll drop out?” Deran: “We’ll see…” Deran seems to click with the other staffers better in terms of humor. He and Mike joke about waiting for Chris to get in the office to find out what he thinks (apparently, Chris is some sort of political sage). Ali and I work on more letters, and work continues as usual.