A Traveller’s Tale – The Racist Old Lady (Part One)

Anybody who knows me, knows that I like to travel, experience stuff, and get out in the world, collecting stories as I go.

One story I enjoy telling is about the time I was physically assaulted by a racist old lady on a bus to Las Vegas. Go ahead. Re-read that synopsis. I was physically assaulted by a racist old lady on a bus to Las Vegas. That’s a pretty out-there scenario. Let’s break it down into components, so you can get the full gravity of the situation:

I (Brad Zimmerman, handsome and talented young comedian from New Zealand) was physically assaulted (caused physical bodily harm) by a racist (that’s a person who is intolerant of other people’s ethnicities) old lady (an elderly female) on a bus (road-based mass public transport vehicle) to Las Vegas (a well known tourist destination in the USA). That’s an awfully specific experience. I can say, with reasonable certainty, that I am the only person in the entire world to whom this has happened.

As a comedian, I have told this story on stage a few times already, although always in a condensed format. I have had mixed reviews of this story, many going so far as to call me racist, since to tell it accurately, I need to quote the old lady, and use a word many think should not be said in any context. That word is “nigger”. It’s a shitty word, and I don’t like it. I will say it one more time in this post. This is just a heads up, so when it happens, you won’t be as surprised as I was.

Keep in mind, that throughout this encounter, I am strongly opposed to the actions of the old lady. She is a bad person, who showed signs of possibly needing psychiatric help. I hope that now, several years after the story takes place, she is either cured of her intolerance, or she is dead.

I can already tell that this post is going to be mammoth, since I haven’t even started the story yet, and we’re already a bajillion pages in. I know that’s a blatant hyperbole, but regardless, I may need to break this thing into pieces.

Fuck it. Let’s get into it.

In 2007, my friend Paul and I managed to attain ridiculously cheap airfares to the USA. Paul had been before, as a child, but this was to be my first ever visit to “The Land of Opportunity”, or as many call it now, “An Over-Commercialised, Over-Hyped Shitty Place to Be”. Either way, I was excited.

Our first stop was Los Angeles. Immediately upon arrival, we made a beeline towards Hollywood, as so many do. Hollywood sucks, but I’ll discuss that another time. From Hollywood, however, we caught a Greyhound Bus to Las Vegas. The trip takes somewhere around eight hours, with a midway stop at a god-forsaken desert crapsack called Barstow.

After a few hours on the bus (in reasonable, air-conditioned comfort), Paul and I begin a conversation with the young black guy sitting in front of us, called Caesar. Caesar is a cool guy, pretty much the same age as us, so we get to talking about all the typical things guys in their 20s talk about; drinking, parties, music, and girls.

Some time passes, and we get roughly two hours outside of Vegas, when Caesar starts playing some loud rap music on his cell phone. Bear in mind, this is 2007, so cell phone technology isn’t quite what it could be, and the sound quality sucks. The music sounds tinny and distorted, but nobody really cares because… it’s Vegas Baby! (And other nonsensical exclamations).

To be continued…

Bah! Don’t you just hate that? When a story is just about to get to the point and then it says “To be continued…”? It’s pretty annoying, right? Well, too bad. That’s what just happened. Deal with it.

The rest of the story (A.K.A. “Part Two”) will be posted soon.


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