BUS STORY # 424 (Wow)
|“Bus Stop Santas” by Lynn Friedman. Posted with permission.|
I’ve been posting bus stories weekly through eight Christmases now -- the ninth is just a few days away. I’ve always tried to have a Christmas bus story for Christmas week, but finding one -- mine or someone else’s -- is the hardest thing about Bus Stories I do. They are not easy to come by.
Once again, I’m having to settle for a generic, non-denominational, “nice” bus story that at least evokes some of the human warmth most of us associate with the holiday spirit -- and this one truly warmed my heart. I’ve also tried compensating for the lack of a Christmas story with the Christmas-themed bus photograph at the top of the page.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good ride.
I’m sitting on the bench reading and waiting. The woman at the other end of the bench is taking care of business. She’s on her phone, and she knocks out a series of calls with a crispness and efficiency that make me wonder if she’s an executive secretary when she’s not riding the bus.
“Sir, do you know the date?”
I look over and, yes, the executive secretary has just asked me the date.
I’m pretty sure it’s the 27th, I tell her.
She looks through an organizer. Thursday, she says, half to herself.
“It’s definitely Thursday,” I affirm.
“Between work and everything else, I can’t even keep track of the date,” she says. She goes on to describe committees she’s on, research projects she’s in the midst of. She says she can hardly wait to retire. Her parents are retired now, lucky dogs. But, she tells me, they deserve it. She and her brother put them through hell when they were kids.
Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Her brother is married, with two kids who are giving him hell. She doesn’t have any kids herself, but she does have a husband who’s filled the role. He’s not working, and she’s the sole support for the two of them.
Disabled? I ask.
You could say that, she replies. He has a disability, but his real issue is how he presents himself. He has a grandiose sense of himself, and he ends up overwhelming, then scaring, the folks he’s trying to get a job with.
She’s got him in counseling for that particular problem.
I salute the effort both of them are making.
“Yeah, well, it doesn’t bring in any money,” she replies.
She says he could go on SSI, but he tells her if he does that, he’d be giving up. He wants to work; he wants to be normal.
There is a pause, and then she says, quietly, looking across the street, “I kind of admire that about him.”
I don’t say anything. I just sit there and all I think is “Wow.”
The photo at the top of this story is titled “Bus Stop Santas” and is posted with the permission of Lynn Friedman. You can see Lynn Friedman’s photostream on Flickr here.