This is my third post in almost as many days...I seem to be full of ideas now that Christmas is here and more people keep coming downtown doing their crazy things...I hope you enjoy.
I took the bus a few times today, and I came to realize that like snowflakes, good or bad there is never the same ride twice. Some are soft and delicate, giving a beautiful glow to the day while others are harsh and cold, making you wish for warmer seasons.
Ride #1 - Ride to the University: This was, by far, the sweetest bus ride I have ever had. The bus was 5 minutes early to my stop for some reason, and arrived at my stop completely empty. Not a sole, except for the cheery driver, who must have just started his shift. Considering it was 10:30 in the afternoon, I though this odd but then realized I should enjoy this moment while it lasts. Like being the first one up Christmas morning to see Santa had come...I had my own bus and didn't have to share it with my big brother. I took a seat in the very back, legs stretched out and arms taking all the space in - as opposed to my usual search for a seat that wasn't near some young punk on a cell phone, aloof to the noise pollution they create whey gabbing incessiently about the party they were at last night. Hey buddy - if you were that cool you would't be on the bus...
For a brief moment in time I had my own two tonne limo...complete with 30 seats for my closest friends. The only drawback - no wetbar.I, and I can say "I" because there was no "we" on this particular bus, managed to hit every single green light and made a total of ZERO stops. Nearing my destination I pressed the "next stop" button and my personal transportation machine slowed down, just for me. I thought to myself sometimes things just line up, and today is going to be that kind of day...
Boy, was I wrong...Bus Ride #3 - Ride from Downtown back to University: This was, by far, the crappiest bus ride I have ever had. The bus was pretty full but I managed to scoop my own seat half way down. My seat was right before the bus rises up a 1/2 level, meaning I was sitting where the rows behind me were about 3 feet above me. I was just at the edge of downtown, heading back to the University when he boarded.
He was dressed in a grubby jacket, trailing a tattered, yellow duffel bag that looked so old it was almost back in style again. I normally don't pay attention to people on the bus, but this was different - as soon as he glanced at my K2 bike bag I was holding he made a beeline for the seat behind me, perching himself directly behind and above me and leering down at my bag. Now I typically ride wearing my ipod, as I find it blocks out the noise and seems to make my destination go faster. Not today....
"What was that about?" I started to wonder, but was stopped short in my thoughts because as he sat down behind me I was hit with an overpowering smell of bad weed and alcohol. It rapidly turned into one of those "need to breath through your mouth so you don't get sick from the smell" moments... shit. How the hell could he smell like that and still walk a straight line to the seat? Now that is an engineering drinking game I failed while in my undergrad, but I digress...
I turned my headphones up and was staring blankly ahead but it was no use . "Sir, sir"...he stammered, tugging on my jacket to get my attention "K2...K2....your bag is K2." Great, now I'm sitting in front of a drunk who likes my branding image.
"Yep, sure is". Oh man, this was going to be a loooong bus ride back today. Quick scope, no other seats to move to and people standing as well. I was boxed in.
"My name starts with K too. Get it? K too? K2" he slurred.
"Yep" was my slightly terse reply. Normally I'd be friendly if someone wants to talk but I usually draw the line when their body odor is reminiscent of the black plague. By now my eyes were starting to water, but he persisted again. "Sir, sir" he said with a sloppy grin, still tugging on my jacket. "K2...the numbers are K seven".
By this point I was breathing completely through my mouth, looking around for another spare seat. A quick scope of the bus location put me about 1/2 way to my destination, and it was raining. This was one of those times where the prospect of being sick on the bus was going to be played out if I didn't act.
*PING* The bus slowed down to pickup the next set of passengers and I saw my exit. My fight or flight response kicked into autopilot and I was GONNE, out the door and into the downpour. The bus pulled away and I breathed in the sweet, damp fresh air. It took an extra 30 minutes to walk back to my next appointment, but it was well worth it. I was free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, I was free at last.
Although my first ride of the day was the best I've ever had, have I mentioned I can't wait until I can drive again???
And next time I'll write about the drunk guy who passed out next to me in the Library at the computer terminal and the transvestite on the other side doing her makeup in the computer screen reflection...It was an eventful day.