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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Because You Never Know When You’ll Need Your Strength

The bus is not only late, it’s full.

Of course, the later a bus is, the more people are waiting for it.

Minneapolis  is just days away from an official declaration of summer.  Bare-limbed and light-headed, we grin at each other.  Look at us!  We’re not wearing hats and we’re not cold!

We’ve shed our winter skins, the layers of down, of fleece and flannel. 

What’s a little late bus between like-minded folk such as we?

Eventually, of course, the bus arrives; and I take a seat at the front.  It’s not my preferred location – I would rather be seated near the video cameras, just in case things get weird – but we don’t always get what we want. 

I am humming “you can’t always get what you want” when I first note the man across from me.

He has a full plate of Chinese food on his lap.

And he is sitting directly under the “No Smoking, No Loud Music, No Food” sign.

A full plate of Chinese. 

Not a take-out container. 

A plate.

I frown, quickly place the first two fingers of my right hand over the ever-deepening furrows between my eyes.  Did he walk out of a buffet with this platter? 

This bus is giving me wrinkles. 

People!  What’s the point of a little picture of a plate of food with a line running through it if one can just board a bus, willy-nilly, with Combination #4? 

Aside from that, and in the paraphrased words of fourth grade teacher Miss Staples:  did he bring enough for everyone?

The rest of my commute is consumed with this thought.  What’s this world coming to, when one is free to choose which posted rules one obeys?  What’s to keep me, for instance, from lighting up, right here, perhaps while playing – audibly! – any number of my phone’s available ring tones?

My bus stop is next, and with these thoughts I rise, only to lurch forward awkwardly, twisting my ankle and stumbling into the aisle.

And Chinese Food Man leaps to his feet, balancing the plate in one hand and catching me under the arm with the other.

He grins at me.  And gratefully, I grin back.

“Careful there, hon,” he says.  “Don’t want to see you get hurt now.”



Hey.  This guy wants to eat his dinner on the bus?  Well that’s okay with me.   

22 comments:

vanilla said...

How quickly and how easily is the violation forgiven.

Should Fish More said...

Perhaps tomorrow Hannible Lecter will be riding and offer you a bite of his breakfast......

joeh said...

Are you sure he didn't trip you just to be a hero?

I say never trust anyone eating Chinese from a plate.

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

"Did he balance that plate on his fingertips as he showed his pass (or drop money in the usual place) while the probably bored busdriver ignored this blatant violation of The Rules?"

After that, I just enjoyed the post... as always... but wondered about that urge you had to light up...

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
A knight in shining plate. As it were... Chopstick etiquette trumps pictorial signage in my book.

...and again I'm made hungry with your words. YAM xx

Geo. said...

Not all heroes wear badges or skin-tight costumes with capes. Some prefer to identify themselves with Chinese food.

jenny_o said...

Ooooh, the bad thoughts caused the stumble! You know they did!

And Chinese Food Man's helpfulness cancelled out his blatant rule-breaking!

That's how life works. It's totally math, all pluses and minuses, karma, what goes around, etc.

I wish.

Delores said...

He just didn't want you landing in his Chinese food lol.

Joanne Noragon said...

You just can't tell a gentleman by his plate of food these days.

Elephant's Child said...

Not only a gentleman, but an agile one. You would have worn the food, as would I and others, if I had tried his manoeuvre. Only the plate would have been food free.

Merlesworld said...

ODD I'm one person who never eats in a moving vehicle but i suffer from motion sickness and always eat before and after travelling.
Merle.......

Lin said...

He wasn't worried about you...he just didn't want you to land in his Chinese food, I'm thinking.

Okay...so I'm cynical.

jeanie said...

What jenny-o said.

Daisy said...

Glad he was eating a good breakfast...it IS the most important meal of the day. You sure fell for him Pearl! What did he look like???

River said...

Was he using chopsticks?

sage said...

What's worse than a Chinese buffet (I like Chinese food but avoid buffets)... Chinese food on a bus!

Great story, Pearl.

Daisy said...

He's a rebel, but he has a good heart! :)

Diane Tolley said...

Okay, I got stuck at "Did he bring enough for everyone?" I can't eat in front of anyone without the urge to offer a bite. Call it a weakness.
Funny how sometimes a gentleman goes about completely disguised, isn't it?!

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

How did he manage to get on the bus pass the driver with a plate of food here the driver would had turned him away

The Vegetable Assassin said...

That man might just be a ninja. One that is too busy ninjaing and doing important doings to get a take out tub for his food. That or a latent superhero. It explains EVERYTHING!

Musings, Tea, and Me said...

Wonderful piece!