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Friday, March 17, 2017

A Morning on the Bus with My Peeps

The woman on the bus is taking up some space. 

She sits across the seats as if stretched out in the back of my old Ford LTD.   Her feet extend into the aisle, and those of us boarding – a term also used in the air transportation business, I believe – clear her boots gingerly.

She is rough looking, perhaps she has slept outside.  Her age is difficult to guess, her skin sun damaged, her eyes hard. 

I grumble internally, briefly, as I ponder the hubris.  The bus is full, as I have taken the second to the last seat.  If anyone wants to sit, they will have to ask her to move; and this being Minnesota, I’m guessing only one out of 20 would.

We don’t like confrontation.

But we will grumble to ourselves.

I judge her for a minute or two.  In the end I decide that perhaps this is all she has, the imperious demand for not one but two seats.  She’s only going to pay for one, dagnabbit, but she’s taking two.

I shrug, internally.  So have two.

There is a clatter at the front of the bus, and I watch a smiling, dimpled man in a suit, a recent immigrant from India, chase a water bottle.  For the next 30 seconds I watch as the thermos rolls, just ahead of his outstretched hands.  Out of his bag, it rolls under his seat, across the aisle, under two more seats to where it finally rests next to the duffel bag that Two Seats has on the floor.

He straightens up.  He smiles, says something I cannot hear and leans in to pick up the bottle, whereupon he returns to his seat.


And she smiles, slowly, pulls a phone out of her pocket and begins texting.

24 comments:

joeh said...

Those people are on the NY subways also. Being New York, maybe one in 15 demand a seat. The demander is usually scarier than the seat hog.

I love these posts, you capture these annoying commuting rituals that make me glad I am retired.

Pearl said...

Oh, Joe, but you're missing all the viruses! And the smells. Don't forget about the smells. :-)

Actually, the smells aren't bad.

Saw her again this morning, Jimmy Two Seats. I have more to write about her. Turns out she's quite the rapper as well.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
...and wouldn't we all like to know what was passed between them?! Oh Pearl, 'tis good to have you - and your vignettes - back on screen...(sighs contentedly)... YAM xx

Joanne Noragon said...

In my college days I rode the bus and made up stories about my fellow travelers.

jenny_o said...

Well, that balanced out nicely. I look forward to the next instalment!

bill lisleman said...

Exciting time on the bus. Your observing the riders sounds like more fun than texting.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Better to stand than get in the way of a two seater. One never knows what she is hiding in those boots.

Gigi said...

Ahh, I've missed the tales from the bus so much!

Elephant's Child said...

How I love riding the bus with you.

Geo. said...

Sitting in one seat demands bending in the middle while bending the opposite direction further down. If I give it too much thought, I just can't do it. Maybe Two-Seats can't either.

carolyn said...

I am so dang happy you're back in full hilariousness. You are the best.

Merlesworld said...

Buses and bus stops are friendly places but not in peak hour but in quieter times nice places to be.
Merle........

Sioux Roslawski said...

Pearl--Perhaps you could equip your posts with "Smell-a-vision"? Or make them "scratch and sniff"? We could read your posts, scratch our screens, and smell all the interesting aromas you smell on the bus...

sage said...

Yep, that's the midwest, where everyone is polite and avoid conflict, but are always muttering under their breath. Nice capture of life on the bus

River said...

I love your bus stories.

Diane Tolley said...

I have so missed your commuter stories! No one has an eye quite like yours. Or a pen...

Chicken said...

I guess she liked the interaction? Everybody needs to feel seen. The ironic thing is, I think, that everyone sees the homeless but often pretends they don't. Not out of malice, but out of embarrassment? Pity? Fear? I'm not sure and maybe I'm talking about myself and shouldn't be including everyone else, but I struggle to not look away.

fishducky said...

I love Sioux's scratch & sniff idea!!

Shoshanah said...

I guess you can't accuse her of "manspreading."

Saimi said...

I think I'd rather ride the bus via your post than in real life. Interesting people indeed, It's the smell that keeps me away.

Eileen B said...

Good to see a post from you, Pearl. Love riding your virtual bus WITHOUT the viruses and the eau de unwashed. Glad you see real people and write instead of zoning out behind a screen.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The details and imagination, that's your gift to the internet.

Launna said...

I get frustrated with people that purposefully take up more than one seat as well... but like people from Minnesota, Haligonians aren't very confrontational as well... :-) xox

NotesFromAbroad said...

I rode a bus once. With my mom in San Diego when I was quite small. It must have made a big impression on me, I won't ride a bus now unless someone is with me ... ( it might have to do with mamas story about waiting at the bus stop when the lady next to her had an "incident" ... her underwear fell down. Yep, a lady standing at the bus stop, dropped her drawers. And mom said the lady just stepped out of them, picked them up, stuffed them in her purse and got on the bus.

I avoid buses . in the US. For some reason, London bus rides don't scare me. but I do make sure the elastic is good in all my underwear.