The woman in front of me is becoming more irritated by the moment, the very pitch of her head giving off cartoon stink-lines of frustration.
You see, the elderly man sharing a seat with me is tapping his hand on the back of her seat.
It’s not even the back of her seat, per se, that he is patting, but the seat that will eventually be occupied by whoever sits next to her.
Tap. Tap. Tap. His hands are freckled, big-knuckled, and deliberate. He’s not wearing an iPod; but his head is nodding in time, his hand lightly patting the seat.
He hears music.
She turns to glare at him, her shiny, smooth hair swirling prettily with the movement. She is fashionable but anxious, her immaturity lending a thoughtlessness I'll bet she's unaware of to the outfit. She has been inconvenienced. She pulls out her phone and texts in short, staccato bursts.
The world should know how bothered she is.
From the old man’s side, there is no indication that he has seen her expression. Perhaps he’s grown used to it, the frustrated annoyance of a world that goes faster every day. He smiles vaguely at her, a brief acknowledgement of her presence, his thoughts with whatever music is playing in his head.
I want to tap her on the shoulder, tell her to relax, that it’s beyond her control, that someday she, too, will be old and on the bus.
That the light-handed tapping of an old man is nothing to fret about.
But she would never believe me.
And so I do what the bus has taught me: I go back to my iPod, to my own music, leaning back and being appreciative, again, of no longer being young.
Because it looks as exhausting as I remember it.
Twice Hit. Many Times Shy.
12 hours ago