Put Some Ice On It
Updated: Jan 28
A fool-proof way to cheer up yourself and your loved ones after a bad day.
The first time it happened was an accident.
I’d been working as a tour guide on a double-decker bus in San Francisco, which was a job that could go spectacularly well on some days and horrifically wrong on other days.
This particular day was hot and uncomfortable. Traffic was completely backed up and the tourists had been eager to squeeze as many activities into their day as was humanly possible.
As hard as I tried, I couldn’t convince these people to have any fun. Some customers felt cheated that they’d bought tickets without being told how bad the traffic would be. Some were late to their restaurant or event reservations. Some had just gotten into fights with their families before coming on board and now they were sitting with their arms crossed, staring at the sights I was pointing out but not really seeing them, seething until they could get back to their hotels and hash it out.
At one point, we were coming up on the Ballet Academy, where the ballerinas practiced for their performances at the opera house across the street. This was usually a fun moment for people, especially kids, because if you wave to the ballerinas in the windows, they often wave back and give us a twirl. This moment was going to get me some smiles, dammit. It had to.
Except that there was this guy onboard. Real butthead. He’d just spent ten minutes arguing with my driver that he wanted a refund and he did not find the ballerinas endearing.
“We didn’t pay to hear about your personal life,” he growled.
“Sorry, what?” I squeaked. (I wish I hadn’t squeaked, obviously, but he caught me off guard with his nonsensical comment. My personal life? Waving to ballerinas was my personal life? Ouch, I guess?)
“Your ticket sellers are fucking criminals,” he said and put a cigarette in his mouth. His wife tried to stop him, but he ignored her.
“Sir, you can’t smoke on the bus,” I said, jaw tight.
He looked me right in the eyes, flicked his lighter open, and said, “Stop me.”
…I kicked him off the bus.
I’d never kicked anyone off my bus before.
My boss called me a minute later to ask why some guy on his other line was yelling at him that I’d kicked him off the bus.
It was a shitty day.
When bus tours get backed up due to traffic, drivers and guides don’t get breaks because they have to immediately start another round and go pick up all the people who’ve been waiting around for 45 mins for a bus that was supposed to come every 15. The company is often overrun with calls and requests for refunds. I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink during my 12-hour shift. I was sweaty and sunburned and extremely dehydrated, so when I got home to my apartment in the Sunset, I poured myself an ice-cold glass of water (pronounced “nice-cold”) and chugged it.
That’s when my roommate came shuffling out of her room in a robe and slippers, all sleepy-eyed.
“Hey, how was work?”
With a mouth full of ice, I said, “Wowk ‘uckin ‘ucked.”
“Yeah?” she sat down at the kitchen bar. “What happened?”
I sucked at the ice a bit to prevent drooling and said, “Wewer wa’ aw’oo, wee’le wa’ mea’, twa’ic ba’.”
Translation= Weather was awful, people were mean, traffic bad.
“And what did your boss say?” she asked with a straight face, having no idea what I’d just said.
I leaned across the bar, looked her in the eye, and animated with my hands. “‘owge eh ‘oss, wemme ‘ew oo abou’ is mo’uckin ick...”
Translation = Forget the boss, lemme tell you about this motherfuckin’ dick...
A line of drool fell from my bottom lip to the counter.