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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Shovel Rides for Free


I watched a man get off the bus carrying a shovel yesterday morning. Not a snow shovel, mind you, but a digging, turning-over-the-earth style of shovel.

Frankly, I was surprised by this – not so much by the fact that a man got off the bus carrying a shovel but because I didn’t notice said shovel until he was stepping down to street level with it.

I thought I was more observant than that.

The whole thing struck me as unusual for two reasons, really: 1.) it’s the middle of December here and the ground is frozen solidly, thank you; and 2.) come on! It’s a long-handled agricultural tool on a city bus.

He had been sitting across the aisle from me, the shovel leaning against the wall.

As he left, I turned around to see a man I ride the bus with every day. We’re not what I would call friends, he and I, but we’ve shared words in the past relative to his standing up for me after I had apparently caught the eye of a certain belligerent cretin with a boom box.

For the record, I still do not believe Boom Box Guy ever toured with The Scorpions or that he had ever had occasion to have, and I quote, “knocked Ozzy’s dick in the dirt”.

I don’t even know what that means.

But as I said, I turned around to see a man I ride the bus with every day. Our eyes met as Shovel Man disembarked.

I smiled at him. “Well there’s something you don’t see every day.”

“You’re right there,” he said, grinning.

I turned back, the right way around, and rode the rest of the way wondering if there would be a day in the future where I would relate this story to a group that would shake its head in disbelief, chat about the “good old days” when you could bring something like a shovel on to a bus.

Well lemme tell ya…

There was nothing good about those days, kids, when any John, Dick, or Harry could bring a shovel on the bus, I’ll say. Those were dangerous days, days where men sought the security of farm implements and women scribbled furious notes on to cocktail napkins found in their purses so as to remind themselves of the details later! The going was tough, and the tough were on the bus! We were ready to fight back then, to kick off our boots and rassle barefooted, catch-as-catch-can with any feller who dared mess with our regularly scheduled routes!

I may never know where that man was going or why he needed a shovel with him – had he finally remembered to return that shovel he borrowed last spring? – but I shall always cherish the many stories I have made up about him since yesterday morning.

Why I oughta…


Reminder:  I guest-posted over at La Tejana yesterday.  Go there, leave a comment, and be in the raffle for a copy of my latest chapbook "The Second Book of Pearl: THE CATS".  

47 comments:

Bossy Betty said...

I love your brain. I wanna go for a ride in it.

joeh said...

I don't know Bossy B. It is fun to be around it, but being inside might be a bit scarey!


cranky

vanilla said...

Christmas present for the Missus.

Shelly said...

Down here, someone carrying a shovel on a bus could only be doing it for two reasons, neither of which I'd care to know much about.

Sometimes, though, that's why we have the weird and strange in our lives, so we can make up stories about them. I wonder what stories people have made up about me...

Suldog said...

I'm assuming it was a dirty sort of a shovel, rather than a shiny new one? If shiny, it really might have been a present... maybe.

By the way, the Second Book of Pearl arrived and it's a hoot.

esbboston said...

A: He knew who were and finaLLy semi-reverse stalked you in the attempt to be included your blog posting. He was sitting at home in his penthouse loft looking out over the Twins City, as he liked to caLL them, and thought, "What should I bring on the bus to catch The Eye of The Pearl? Should it be my pet orangutan, or my boa constrictor?" Looking around the penthouse at his collection of agri instruments, he chose his favorite shovel out of the 37. "That should impress her", he thought, taking off the price tag.

B: "A" was so long that I forgot what "B" was going to be.

Daisy said...

A shovel on the bus!? That is unusual. The real reason for it is probably not nearly as good as the one you make up. :)

fishducky said...

My hat is off to you--at least, it would be if I were wearing one!! An interesting & amusing story about a shovel on a bus! Who'da thunk it?

Jazz said...

Seriously, I don't see how anyone but you could make a story out of some guy with a shovel on the bus.

I am in awe.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

He's prepared. If there's a snow storm he can dig his way on and off the bus. Every bus should have a shovel carrying man on board in the winter.

Daisy said...

He was expecting a lot of snow? Over the top of the bus snow? Snow too tough for a whimpy snow shovel, snow.

Pat said...

I think I'd prefer a shovel to an axe.

Douglas said...

I wouldn't worry about shovel man... unless he was also dragging a large, full, duffel bag or maybe a couple of large, full, garbage bags, is bug-eyed and babbling to himself.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Simple. You had the unique experience of seeing the legendary man who "knows where the bodies are buried". Did he zap you with an amnesia ray before he got off the bus to erase your ability to describe anything about him, other than the shovel?

Hilary said...

There couldn't be a more perfect setting than on a bus for a writer's mind to sit. You've proven that time and time again.

Leenie said...

The crap gets mighty deep some days in the office. Sometimes a guy just needs more than hip boots.

mapstew said...

Oh Pearl, you funnee! :¬)

xxx

Geo. said...

Intriguing enigma. Maybe he carried a shovel to dig up other things Boom Box Guy knocked into the dirt.

Joanne Noragon said...

Details, details. When you next seem it's important to tell us about his shoes and hat. The real clues are there.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Oh, sure, he had a shovel. But where was his "ho"?
Ba-dum-bum.
;)

Pearl said...

Popping in during a heckuva day at work.

You people are pretty funny, aren't you?

:-) Drinks are on me!

River said...

Now you've got me thinking about 2003. I'd just moved into a 2 bedroom unit and made many many bus trips back and forth to my daughter's house where I used my granny trolley to pick up and bring home gardening tools, mops, lamps etc. All things that hadn't fit on the trailer for the "big" move. Six months of back and forthing with the last item being a tall palm in a pot.

Buttons said...

Yup random farm implements on a bus you just could not make that stuff up:) B

Jono said...

You can whack somebody upside the head pretty good with one of them agricultural shovels. I am surprised you city folk allow them on your buses.

Silliyak said...

If you had gotten a picture and gotten it in the paper you would have had a scoop.

Jayne Martin said...

You can make an engaging story out of anything. I so envy that kind of writing talent. Ordered the new book!

Gigi said...

Oh Pearl, between you and the comments I'm crying with laughter over here!

Mr. Charleston said...

Just think of the stories that would spring forth if it was a goat!

Red said...

If the truth be known the guy probably had a very simple explainable reason for carrying the shovel. Since we don't know what he was actually doing, it leads to all kinds of interesting speculation. I'll bet you got all your readers speculating

klahanie said...

Although I'm now typing from another dimension and the keyboard I have is rather a strange contraption in this dimension, through the broken transmission, I realised your ongoing fascination with public transport and I can um dig that....

Must gooooo nowwwwww....

Stephen Hayes said...

A shovel can come in handy. You never know when you might need to dig your way out of a hole.

HermanTurnip said...

Pearl: Before I drop off the face of the Earth these next few days, I just wanted to quickly drop by and wish you a Merry Christmas! You, my friend, deserve something chocolaty and alcoholicy this season :-)

jenny_o said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jenny_o said...

Perhaps he was on his way to a Tall Tales competition :)

darsden said...

things that make you go hummmm

Jocelyn Pihlaja said...

He was moving across town.

One piece at a time.

Only two thousand more bus rides, and he's DONE!

Rita said...

Maybe it was for riding down a snowy hill like they did in It's A Wonderful Life? ;)

The Elephant's Child said...

I so wish I could ride the bus with you. Eavesdropping and observing. You could take one side of the bus, and I could take the other and we could compare notes afterwards. I bet your side would be the more exciting though...

Linda O'Connell said...

Boom Box Boy's comment about Ozzie is a hoot. Your posts make my day!

Mitchell is Moving said...

That imagination-inducing story and all I can think to say is Boom Box Guy had nothing to do with the fact that Izzy's dick was so long in the first place it could easily drag in the dirt. (But maybe that's where the shovel came in... a little ditch so Izzy's dick wouldn't drag as he walked.)

Mitchell is Moving said...

Ozzy, too...

Perpetua said...

I'm with the "It may have been a present" crowd, even if it was a used shovel. Times are hard and we should be grateful for every present we get. :-)

Eva Gallant said...

Perhaps the man with the shovel lived in a hovel and to bury his poor dog a bone.

sage said...

Think of the stories you could come up with he was carrying a chain saw--that Texas guy meeting and Paul Bunyan all in one.

esbboston said...

Sarsaparilla for aLL the sassy ones!

Bénédictine for me ...

Zena said...

Now I am thinking about that man and his shovel... great post

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Taking a shove on the bus is nothing my former brother in-law once took a twin tub washing machine on the bus.
Yes you read that right a twin tub washing machine............lol