Hibachi Crazy

One  Saturday in July, we took a hibachi on the bus

then we had to transfer twice

just to get to Seton Park

where all the lovely rich people had their wedding photos taken

and the unlovely poor folk watched them having their wedding photos taken

We dropped our fare in the coin slot and boarded the bus

We sat near the back on a bench seat facing the aisle and the back door

He tapped his fingers on the box containing our new hibachi

he was full of anticipation to use it

I could tell by the look in his eyes when the photo gray faded from his glasses

I could also tell he was still feeling doubtful about being seen in public with it

We’d just bought it the day before, when we heard there was a heat wave coming

I was hungry

He was hungry

It was hot

I shuffled my feet, feeling the loose rubber knot in my right flip flop

I played with it a while before getting bored

He shook his legs and he never got bored, he just kept shaking his legs

The bus kept swallowing up more and more people as we moved along

In fact, it got pretty crowded

Old people, young people, babies, kids, you name it, they were on our bus

He got sweaty and a bit nervous, squirming and shifting

He said

“Val, do you think we look crazy carrying this Hibatchi on the bus and is anyone staring at us?”

I said (totally lying)

“Hell no, no one is looking at us and it isn’t crazy to carry a hibachi on public transit anymore than it is to carry a baby stroller or a skate board.”

This seemed to satisfy him for the twelve seconds it took him to notice a guy  standing in the aisle peering at our hibachi.  He leans over to me, all covert and seriously skeptical of my ability to determine the weirdness of hibachi carrying and he is a bit miffed.

“That asshole is staring at us.”

“No he’s not, you’re just sensitive because you’ve got it into your head that it’s crazy to have one.  This is Toronto, no one cares anyway,  everyone is crazy here.”

He stared straight ahead and I could tell he didn’t believe me.  The guy leaned down a bit to get a good sidelong glance at the box on his lap.  He gave the guy one of his penetrating fuck off stares and the guy turned his attention to a woman’s ass in front of him.

“That fucking guy is too staring at our hibachi, I told you it isn’t normal.”

I rolled my eyes

“Oh for frig sake, he’s not staring at the hibachi, he’s staring at this massive fucking bag of charcoal and can of lighter fluid.  I’m the one who looks like a tool, so relax. Besides, right now he’s staring at her ass.  Wouldn’t you rather have him stare at your hibachi than your ass?”

He seemed satisfied once again, until the big lady in the lilac sun dress boarded the bus sat down across from us.  Her eyes scanned the hibachi, the bag of charcoal and the can of lighter fluid.  Her eyes kept darting around like bees in a bottle until she couldn’t control the  impulse one moment longer.

“Why you got that BBQ?”

He looked at me with disgust and betrayal.  I suppressed a laugh.  She waited expectantly for an answer.  Finally, when I said nothing he had no choice but to slip her some sarcasm for acknowledging our cargo.

“Geez, I don’t know lady, what  do you think we should do with this hibachi?”

She looked at him and then at me and then at him and then the floor and then she said

“I think you should cook with it young man but you shouldn’t be carrying it on the bus, it looks crazy.”

He didn’t say anything for the next five stops, but when we got off the bus he stopped, adjusted his glasses, the hibachi and his attitude toward me.

“I hate this goddamn hibachi and it’s the last time I ever listen to you!  Here, you carry the fucking thing and I’ll take the charcoal and lighter fluid,  it looks much saner that way.”

And there you have it folks, a blast from Val’s past  in all its banal and idiotic glory.  Now, go out there and have a good July 4th BBQ and when you eat those hot dogs, remember, do not carry a hibachi on any public transit system and definitely do not do it on a fifth date.  I’m just sayin’ is all.


Author: valo

I am a poet, writer and activist with a special interest in human rights for children and women as well as the elimination of poverty worldwide. If you read this today, feed someone locally for me will you? Drop off a non perishable food item at the food bank nearest you and consider yourself hugged. Thank you!

8 thoughts on “Hibachi Crazy”

  1. That really brightened my day.
    Sounds like Dave had a great coping skill.
    Glad you could share and that you did.

    1. Thank you Brandon, Dave was one of a kind and actually, the anniversary of his suicide was on July 17th and yesterday would have been our 21st wedding anniversary. He would have loved me telling this story because he was much more than the schizophrenia that tormented him, he was an intelligent, funny and loyal man.

  2. Fantastic story, I don’t know the word ‘hibachi’, but in South Africa a ‘portable braai’ is not an uncommon sight on busses. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Now you see Cindy, if Dave had known this we would never have left that damn $37.95 hibachi behind when we made our way back home because his bus/hibachi issues would have been moot! lol You South Africans have the right idea 🙂

    1. Even schizophrenia can be funny sometimes and Dave was very keen to make fun of it to diminish it’s dark looming shadow over his/our lives. I’m so pleased you saw it in the light it was intended and Dave would chuckle at the thought of me retelling this story. 🙂 Next, I’ll have to regale you with the tale of our carrying fishing rods down a busy street in Toronto to catch a bus to a fishing hole outside the city!

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