I take the Number 18 bus when I go to see George; and just as one neighborhood is different from another, one bus line is not the same as the next.
The 18 is delightfully different. From the cosmopolitan high-heeled rush of downtown to the grimy stretch pants of the upper streets, just one of the beautiful things about a bus ride is the ability to do nothing but stare out a window.
There’s a lot going on outside those side windows.
Why is that man wearing a winter coat in the middle of summer?
Do the dogs traveling with the homeless enjoy their outdoor lives?
Does the woman in the five-inch heels know that they make her walk like a drunken spider?
The bus: Where one’s brain is free to travel, unencumbered.
Sometimes, though, we see things that stay with us, wedge themselves into the wrinkled recesses of our brains looking for real answers. Unlike the slow shake of the head inspired by the high-heeled, lurching gait of the fashion susceptible, sometimes what we see makes us think, “What spurred this?”
I am just blocks from the stop I need. I sit up a bit straighter. Much like the weird way I turn down the radio when I’m getting closer to an address I’ve never been to before, as if I will not see the house number if my music is loud, I sit up straighter when I am not entirely sure of whether I am one or three blocks from my destination.
The streets are remarkably clean over here. I have seen with my own eyes the man who wanders these streets with “The Grabber”, picking up trash.
I, too, am a picker up of other people’s garbage. It is only natural, then, that I, as the kids say, heart this man.
I am staring out the window, then, admiring clean sidewalks, when a garbage can catches my eye.
Because sticking up out of the garbage is a walking cane.
From the angle, I am willing to bet that the whole cane is in there.
I get off the bus, walk back to the garbage can. The whole cane is there. There is nothing wrong with it.
And since that day, I have wondered: Who left a perfectly good cane there? And why?