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Friday, June 28, 2019

Representin'! or People. Huh.

The bus, this morning, smells of hot dish.  Some sort of tomato-based, Italian-sausaged, crusty-cheese-topped hot dish. 

It is 6:35 am, and I am ready for dinner.

What time did this person get up, anyway?

For the uninitiated, there are many potential smells to the bus.  The February unwashed-winter-coat smell of the horror of middle winter.  The weed-y What?-I’m-holding-this-for-a-friend smell creeping from backpacks.  Smells of flowers bought at the farmers’ market, of exuberant cologne wearers, of wet hairspray.

Generally, though the bus smells of nothing. 

Impressive, no?

How do they do it?  Of the hundreds, maybe thousands of people that ride a bus in a day,  can it be that the majority of us are reasonable human beings?

I got into a conversation the other day.

"I don't know how you do it," she said.  "Riding the bus?"  She shudders, shaking her head.  "Ugh.  So dirty.  All those people.  You just don't know what kind of person you're dealing with."

"Weird," I said, "that's what they say about you."

And didn't that get me a look.

I took a good look around today.  Just who are we dealing with?  The guy who wears long sleeves no matter the weather, the psoriasis peeping from his wrists.  The woman, dab-dab-dabbing moisturizer on her face for the three miles downtown.  The man in the business suit and track shoes, reading 1984.  The woman who went from slender to pregnant to mother of a six year old -- she shakes now, relies on a cane -- maybe early 30s.  The man with the pointy head, traveling with a boombox and usually dressed as an NBA player, circa 1976.  The middle-aged lady in sensible heels and a jaunty hat, her purse balanced on her lap, waiting...

Bus Friend Sandy boards.  "Look at you," she says, sitting down.  "All dressed up."

I smile at her.  "Just holding up my end of the bargain," I say.


Elephant's Child said...

I always love travelling on the buses with you. And will admit to some personal weirdness. And to revelling in the weirdness of others.

Gigi said...

And this is why people should look up from their phones every now and again - they might be surprised about what they observe.

Geo. said...

I'm so pleased to be reading your posts again --enjoying your keen observation and deductive reasoning. After 45 years of labor on farms, crafts and gardening, I too wear long sleeves as my forearmas are mostly scar tissue. But you approach enigmatic solutions with compassion, understanding. Have I told you lately I appreciate that and sure like how you write? I do.

Ernie said...

Nothing like a little people watching/observing. I did some of that during a recent college orientation with Eddie. I have a few upcoming posts about it.

This reminds me of the days when I was in high school and I took a train from the northern burbs of Chicago into the city and then another train to the western suburbs for a babysitting job where I slept at their house all week during the summer before reversing the train ride to get home on the weekend.

I was sheltered and cautious and 15 yrs old. I liked watching the various people and imagining where they were headed. I bought myself Chuckles candy each trip at the same news stand as a treat to nibble on during my train rides. There were many characters and many smells.

Joanne Noragon said...

It's far easier to be nice. As is said, it takes far fewer muscles to smile than to frown.

jenny_o said...

The bus is like a mini-world, and the lesson is the same, isn't it? If only we'd all just hold up our end of the bargain, things would be better for everyone.

I do love your compassion, which Geo. also pointed out. And I've never forgotten your earlier (much earlier) lesson: everybody is somebody's weirdo. That's a keeper :)

Jono said...

Makes me want to retire to the big city just to ride the bus!

Linda O'Connell said...

Met a guy about fifty yesterday waiting FOR a bus. I saw him fall down in the grass. Stopped the car to see if he needed an assist. Thought of YOU immediately.

"Sir, do you need an ambulance? Are you okay?"

"Yeah. I'm okay. I missed the bus and got a little tipsy."

"You sick?"

"Well, maybe I been drinking a little. I know I shouldn't a been. I'm going to sit right here and wait for the next bus."

"Well scoot right back under that shade tree. It is almost 100 degrees, and you don't need to be sitting in the sun. Otherwise I'm going to call someone." I used my teacher voice.

"Ma'am, yes ma'am!"

He inched his bony butt backwards, and I left him sprawled there.

I flagged a city bus roaring down our road. The young driver squealed to a stop and asked if I needed help.

"No sir, but there is a man who missed the last bus and fell down. He is sprawled in the grass at your next stop down the street. Could you wait for him to come on board?"

"Ma'am, yes ma'am." Hmmm... I had NOT used my teacher voice. I also did not say the man was three sheets to the wind soaking up sun rays and Quick Trip
sold-by-the-can beer.

We should collaborate on a book called the Bus People.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Any time people gather . . . That's Entertainment! ;)
I can sing you the song, if you like . . .

Bill Lisleman said...

Pearl you bring class to the bus. Thanks for taking us there.

Saimi said...

It's aways an adventure riding a public bus.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Pearl--You should take Linda up on the offer. She is a magnet for characters just like you are.

It could even be a scratch-but-don't-sniff book.