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".