Once again, we reach our tentative fingers toward the weekend in search of meaning, truth, and affordable snackage.
And so we consult my iPod during the morning commute to determine what lies ahead, because honestly, doesn’t your shuffled playlist tell you your future?
As my grandmother said, It couldn’t hurt.
Tiger by Maximum Balloon
Start! By The Jam
Washed Away by Arrested Development
Me Ever Changing Moods by The Style Council
Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley
Mandinka by Sinead O’Connor
Black Soul Choir by 16 Horsepower
The Revolution Will Not be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron
Wheeee! The iPod says that you will run into old friends, and you will be wearing new pants when you do.
My name is Pearl, and I approve this message.
I mean, really. It can only get better. And you know why that is?
Because recently, I've had occasion to ride the number 10 bus.
I know what you’re thinking. What could have possibly induced me to board the lawless Number 10, affordable mode of transportation for the shifty-eyed?
Well I’ll tell you.
I’ve changed my work hours, opting for four nine-hour days and a four-hour day on Friday, thus affording myself an afternoon of freedom.
And I have done what many have done before me.
I have missed my bus.
There it was, my regular bus at a new, irregular time and a full block ahead of me. Run! Run! Pump them crazy legs, Pearl! It’s 6:26, my heels clacking on the sidewalk, yoga bag bouncing on my back, my purse and lunch bag clamped under my left arm.
Ah, but when the lights change, the bus continues and the next stop is five blocks away, the odds of you catching it diminish considerably.
Will I wait 20 minutes for the next bus?
I will not.
Walk on, old girl, uphill and several blocks to the Number 10 Route, home of vagabonds and people who hit themselves in the head.
I’ve had occasion to ride the 10 before, a route which will eventually lead to a friend’s house but one that also runs through an area known for its affordable housing, its mental health facilities, and its daytime hookers.
The 10 is a hotbed of human behavior and just plain good people-watching.
Normally, this is something I want to roll around in, memorize for future reference, relate to colleagues over satisfying beverages.
Today, however, this is a poor start to a Friday and sullen early-morning proof of society’s loss of civility.
I remind myself that these people are my brothers and sisters as the woman who joins me five minutes after I get to the bus stop pushes herself ahead so as to board first.
I remind myself again as the man I sit behind consumes three cherry Danish and a pint of milk and finishes it all off with a belch I can hear over my iPod.
And I remind myself one final time when I turn off my iPod to listen to a man standing at the front of the bus inform us, musically and with much flourish, that he is “a hunka hunka burnin’ love”.
And with that, I finally smile.
My sister is rude, my brother has no table manners, and my crazy uncle at the front of the bus is a reminder that it doesn’t matter what I think of these people.
On the Number 10 Bus, we are all equal.
And I am looking forward to my stop.
Eight in Some: Sunday, February 18
5 hours ago