Tuesday, March 6, 2012
In The Future, I’ll Wait for the Next #17 or This is a Gag, Right?
“I’m here! I’m here!”
I wave my arms wildly, an early-morning commuter in need of medication. I’ve run two blocks, skidding along an iced-over sidewalk, and now stand on the edge of the street I must cross to make the bus.
I can see it coming. It is three blocks away.
And I can’t cross.
There is just one car on my side of the road – and there he goes! – and four cars immediately following the bus. I wave my arms, smile at the driver. There is a stop directly across the street. There is no one standing there, but if he will stop, I will be able to cross in just seconds and he’ll still be on time…
If he will stop.
He looks at me. Then looks away.
And I watch in disbelief as he shoots by me.
The faces on this side of the bus turn as one, their eyes sympathetic. Aww. She rides the bus every day…
Stunned and leaning toward angry, I cross the street. The bus continues on, takes a right-on-red two blocks later and disappears from my view.
I start the long walk up Broadway, up the hill to await and board the 10.
The lawless 10.
I am so going to write a letter of complaint.
I sigh. While the Number 10 bus has given me much to write about in the way of odor identification and child-rearing do’s and don’ts, I am not in the mood. It’s early, it’s 19 degrees out, and I’m going to be late.
This is not how we do things around here.
Twenty minute later, I am standing at the bus stop at the top of the hill. Wind-blown, I watch the man next to me smoke the filter of his cigarette. I admire his dedication to wringing every last cent out of it, try to keep my frown to myself as he eventually tosses its remnant to the sidewalk.
The 10 arrives at last. It’s warm inside, and I am thankful.
This particular bus is one where the bulk of the seats face inward rather than forward-facing. I sit next to a young man who appears, slumped and disdainful, to be gripping an invisible ThighMaster between his knees.
My sitting down has forced him to pull his knees in further than he likes. He expresses his dissatisfaction with a disgusted “pfffft”.
The instrument that would measure my level of caring does not yet exist.
On the bright side, work is less than a 15-minute ride from here; and whatever the 10 has to offer, I can take it. I remove my hat and gloves, studiously avoid looking at the man across from me. I look down, look inward, look away, but strange movements from him catch me off-guard; and against my better judgment, I look at him.
And look away.
Picking his nose with his thumb - his thumb! - I can see what will happen next. Horrified, I look away so quickly that I cause other people to look.
And also look away.
I am prohibited, primarily by my mother, to describe exactly what it was that man was having for breakfast. Suffice it to say that, for the first time ever, I gagged on the bus.
And I rode the rest of the way with my eyes closed.