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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And If We Get Stranded and I Die, You Can Eat Me; That’s How Vested I Am In This Bus Thing

The young man on the bus, the one with the fidgety leg, is irritated that I am sitting next to him.

This influences me not.

He has turned around several times to gaze at the empty seats at the very back of the bus. You know the seats, right? The sideways-facing ones, in case you enjoy the feeling of having lost control of your car on the ice and are now skidding? The forward-facing back row, in case you are short and enjoy not having your feet touch the ground?

He can look back there as wistfully as he likes. I’m not moving.

He twists to stare at the back of the bus one more time.

“Did you want to move?” I say. “I can let you out.”

“No. Um, no. I just –“ Poor guy can’t bring himself to say it, realizes his wishing he had a seat to himself is pointless. Someone's going to sit with him whether he likes it or not, and there are more offensive fish in the sea than me.

Excuse me. Pardon me. Excuse me.

The bus fills to capacity in the next four stops, then overfills; and now there are people standing in the aisle. I close my eyes and picture it two months from now, the insulated coats, the packages, the sloppy aisles of snow and sand.

Easy, old girl.

We are now entering the buses’ smelliest season: winter. Perhaps even smellier than the summer commute and its “you-smell-that?-that-reminds-me-if-we-need-bait-this-weekend-I-know-a-guy-who-can-get-us-discount-minnows” aspect, winter is the smell of wet hairspray, of cigarette-smoke-saturated wool, of boxes of steaming hot-dishes and trays of office potluck Christmas cookies.

It’ll be holiday cheer and sneezing all around.

The young man with the fidgety leg is getting off the bus now, and I’ll have the seat to myself for the next block. I close my eyes, half-listening to the iPod, half-listening to the sounds of the bus. It’s me, and you, and you, and that guy over there against the world.

Excuse me. Pardon me. Excuse me.

27 comments:

Jayne Martin said...

You are a charming writer. I'm very glad I found your blog. - Jayne

Pearl said...

Thank you, Jayne. Feeling a little down lately -- I'm going to blame the weather! -- and fear it's been reflected in my writing.
I needed that. :-)

Krëg said...

Quietly farting on a bus is one of my favorite activities. Maybe that twitchy-leg guy just had to fart? And was just embarrassed about possibly smothering you in butt-funk?

mapstew said...

Hey Pearl, ya just gots ta cheer up girl :¬) And keep writing, I've yet to meet a writer who is always happy!

I love the bus. Started taking them again a couple of years ago when I got sick of driving and gave up my job as a courier. (I drove about 2000 miles a week avg!)

Couple of days ago I took the bus into town, there was a poor guy who changed seats every stop! He was very aggitated, couldn't settle for love nor money!

Can be quite entertaining!

:¬)

xxx

Pearl said...

Kreg, now that you mention it...

mapstew, thank you, my friend. And I think you've hit on something there: when's the last time you met a writer that was always happy? Good point. I guess part of the reason I write as much as I do is that I'm continually trying to make myself more comfortable, writing the world to suit me. :-) Egomaniacal little bestid, ain't I?

Suzyhayze said...

I think this may win the weeks Best Read.

Fantastic. I was on that bus. Unfortunately! ;)

Linda said...

Maybe it's not your most cheerful of posts, but it was interesting, and entertaining.

And, really, you didn't sound 'down' just accepting. Is that a bad thing? Not always.

powdergirl said...

Remind me to stay off the bus that Kreg rides please. I have keen olfactory sense, and farting anywhere near me can overwhelm my desire to behave in a socially acceptable manner.

I've killed for less.

Yeah, gloomy weather here today too, but its all good, because I'm off to have the first in a series of root canals. So thats cheering me right up : D

Ms Sparrow said...

Your powers of observation are AWESOME!

MamaOtwins+1 said...

I am so glad it doesn't snow here - well not very much anyways.

I enjoyed your post though - reading your words make me feel like I'm there with you.

Not The Rockefellers said...

Pearl, I think the word has gotten out to the masses about your Swine Flu Party...:)

I have to agree with Kreg...he was packing heat...

Peace - Rene

thinkinfyou said...

Yuck! Riding the bus is the worst. As for the guy with the fidgety leg,that could have just been a nervous habit because he was attracted to you...you better watch out for fidgety strangers on the bus!

Christine Gram said...

Three cheers for the bus riders. I love the bus. I vote for summer though as the smelliest of times. The bus is a shelter in the winter... nice and toasty warm.

Daffy said...

Man I love my car...

The Retired One said...

Your depiction is SO 'right on' Pearl...
and the graphics? Well, let's just say I had to spray my computer screen with some Glah'day.
:-}

A Mom on Spin said...

Great post! And who would have thought that winter would be summer for the worst of smells???

Tracey said...

I hope like hell I win the lottery in this lifetime so that I can buy you a car. I seriously want to buy you a car, Pearl.

Hugs!!
Green-Eyed Momster

darsden said...

oh I love it when you ride the bus too... then I am not alone on it ;-)

uhmmm yea and why don't you have a car again? did I miss something?

booshy said...

And this is why I don't do public transportation unless forced.

Pop and Ice said...

Oh my God. You all that take mass transportation - you're going to be the one's spreading the swine flu pandemic! Maybe there is an upside to living in Detroit after all....

justsomethoughts... said...

great post
as always
now just mix a little swine flu in the bus and you're all set.

Jocelyn said...

Despite the smells and fidgets, bus riding is kind of awesome. It keeps you in touch with the masses of humanity and never fails to make one feel better about her own life.

Under the Influence said...

I love your bus riding stories! Thankfully, the smell of the winter bus cannot come through the computer, but as a former bus rider, I remember that smell all too well.

The Jules said...

Nicely put.

I personally would rather sit on the floor than next to someone, unless they have purposefully put their bag there in which case I will not only ask them to move it so I can sit down, but I will then spend the journey annoying them with tinny earphone music sounds.

Even if I'm not wearing any.

Pearl said...

I admit that I love the bus for the very reasons Joce lists: it keeps me in touch with the "people". :-) Honestly, the moment I am taking out my notebook and writing down my thoughts on all the little weirdos around me, someone nudges their friend to point out the weirdo writing in her notebook...

Willie and I have a car, but just the one. He takes it to work - I take the bus. I do not miss commuting by car ever!

minivan soapbox said...

My husband takes the bus AND a train everyday. I did it once with him when I had a meeting downtown....Then I quit my job and had a baby. That's how much I hated the bus. You are a stronger woman than I.

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

Oh, I love this.