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.