Periodically, I will share a short story. This also comes from a reading I did on March 28th. (See Poems page also.)
RIDING THE BUS
It starts as a sparkling morning, shiny leaves and sky sharp to my eyes, dark pointy trees above a flat river that gives off tendrils of fog.
In town, a driver in a new SUV delivers four bags of garbage to the public trash can and my inner old woman yells at him ‘I don’t pay taxes to clean up your garbage.’ And then yesterday’s couple continue their argument, he mumbling on, though he had screamed at me for spare change and she had yelled at him to leave her alone as she was ‘on probation christsake.’ On this morning, he giggles as she rants though she finally disconnects from him and climbs into the bus. So quiet, without her muse.
We ride with two laptops, four books, one magazine, a conversation of friends and one of strangers, two cellphones checked for emails, three earphones, earbuds or headsets and sometimes earbuds and headset and constantly shuffled ipod and records slipped from cover and sleeve to be inspected.
A new rider, jerks up to discuss the overhead buttons with the driver and once more where the next stop is, though he doesn’t want to get off and lurches up again to remove a crumpled schedule from his pocket and darts his thin frame to the front to replace the paper, and we all exchange glances trying not to judge the behavior while noticing how unnerving it is, until the regular rider who each day triangles six pieces of duct tape to a sandwich bag and sticks it to his shirt verbalizes—that guy is weird.
So we are community again, protecting each other and finding a ‘them’ to our ‘us’. We halt the bus for late runners and recently departed riders who forgot purse, backpack or paper sack. And sympathize with the bike rider who left his bike at the transit mall and needs to return and wonder who rode a bike and left it hanging on the front of the bus. Our road rage only dependent on how late the bus is, how far the rear end swings across the turns and bumps on the manic part of the ride without stoplights and if the new driver will stop at the hidden spots rung for or not.
The morning’s song is taken up by another on the way home. There’s always a loud one, cheerful as a dog or child asking who will play with me and informing us all of the intimate details of her last three drunks, grade school flood shelter birthday party and bicycling up Starrett hill to the applause of amazed onlookers, she still amazed these years after the heroic feat.
Or by the laptop-user-travel-advisor ignorant of the location of a main intersection yet volunteers to find that pesky intersection for the ‘got on the wrong bus’ riders and maneuvers a better seat for himself.
Or the two who discuss global warming and the Raiders until one reveals himself as a visitor who used to live on the river and remembers the jazz festival though is informed it recently happened. ‘Darn I missed it.’ The informant responds, ‘No that’s okay, it was the blues festival, it was a month ago.’ The visitor rambles on, ‘oh I remember one time Leon Waters played, no that’s not his name but it was maybe a few years ago or twenty years ago or something, it sure was good, I’m sorry I missed it.’ And we’re sorry we missed it too as he wishes his departing informant a good weekend and sad to say it’s only Tuesday.
The website gods (designers) say this is for listing events. My next 'event' will be the production of my play Crossed Connections as part of Redwood Writers Play Festival the end of March.
Do you want to ask? Click on to Your Thoughts page and fill in the blanks.
Lynn Millar - copyright 2019 - everything is mine and is my fault.