The afternoon bus stop has been moved.
For the next month, while Nicollet Mall is repaved, we are invited to board our buses on Hennepin, notable for its being the land of Prince-famous First Avenue and the only street in the world where I have been mistaken for a prostitute.
But that’s another story.
And so yesterday, after initially trotting, like a drunken farmer’s horse, to my regular stop only to remember my new destination in time to miss my bus, I decide to take a different route, a route that goes to my neighborhood but drops me off roughly 9-10 blocks from home.
The walk: it’s good for my digestion.
There’s a whole ‘nother feel to waiting for the bus on Hennepin Avenue, and I suspect that this will not be the last you hear me talk about it.
What you notice first is that there’s no shade. Just a couple blocks from the new Twins stadium, there are no tall buildings to block the afternoon sun, and the heat, surprising for this time of year, bounces up off the sidewalk.
The next thing you notice on Hennepin Avenue is what appears to be a universal lack of dental plans for its regulars.
I think we can honestly describe parts of Hennepin Avenue as “seedy”.
Upon boarding my irregular bus, I am treated to the phone conversation of the man four seats behind me. What a lovely voice he has. Everything in his world, to hear him tell it, is “off the hook”. He is also of the opinion that “that girl be trippin’”. What girl, we will never find out.
I turn my iPod up.
I have my own seat for two blocks, whereupon I am joined by an albino.
He is pink-white with sculpted white facial hair and wrap-around sunglasses. He smiles at me as I look up, and I decide that being smiled at by an albino is probably a good-luck thing.
Not long after he boards, and seeing the earphones, he gestures out the window. We are crossing the bridge over the Mississippi. Above flood-stage, the river roars underneath us, jostling and fighting itself with root-beer-colored fists.
I turn my iPod down. “Incredible, isn’t it?” I say. “Howdja like to fall into that?”
He smiles and shakes his head.
Four blocks later, he points out a man standing on the roof of a three-story house.
We smile at each other. Crazy people!
A block before my stop, we watch a backhoe yank up an enormous square of sidewalk, deftly maneuvering it up and into a dumpster.
“You see that?” I say. “What do you suppose something like that weighs?”
And he answers me.
In Spanish. Several sentences in Spanish. And then we laugh, me in American, and him in Spanish.
An albino non-English speaking man sat next to me on the bus yesterday.
And I think we are now friends.
Gnome, Sweet Gnome
3 hours ago