Sunday, June 29, 2008


BUS STORY # 89 (Paul’s Bus Story # 2)


Paul tells me he’s taken to walking to the gym some days instead of riding his bike. He usually takes the bus home afterwards. He catches the Lomas outbound across the street from University Hospital. He doesn’t know the schedule yet, but he has figured out it runs every 20 minutes.

He tells me there’s a schedule posted at this stop, and he was standing there trying to make sense of it when another guys tells him if he’s waiting for the No. 11, it’ll be there in 10 minutes. The Rapid Ride Blue Line runs every 15 minutes or so.

Paul notes he’s a large, rotund man in a tropical shirt and shorts. He's maybe 65 years old or so. He’s wearing a cap that suggests he’s a veteran. Paul thanks him for the info, and the man answers that “they” told him his appointment was at 1:30 p.m., but when he got here, they told him it was at 11:30 a.m. He says he doesn’t know when they’ll be able to get him in again.

He’s worried. He knows something is wrong with his heart. He tells Paul how they tell you to exercise, but his legs hurt. He says they told him he didn’t need the veins in his legs, but ever since they took them for his heart, his legs hurt when he tries to walk. He explains again how they told him his appointment was at 1:30 p.m., but when he got here, they told him it was at 11:30 a.m.

Paul doesn’t know whether he should engage the man in conversation or not. He considers telling him about his own impending surgery, but decides the guy doesn’t really want to hear someone else’s story. He’s still working through his own. Paul imagines the guy as living alone, with limited resources.

He’s cycling through “they-told-me-my-appointment-was-at-1:30” again. Paul wonders did the old guy get it wrong? Or did someone at the clinic make a mistake? And why couldn’t they fit him in, anyway?

The old man is clearly concerned. He knows there’s something wrong with his heart. He doesn’t know how long he’ll have to wait before a doctor can see him. He’s concerned about what could happen between now and whenever then is.

I listen to Paul tell his story, and I can tell the old man isn’t the only one concerned.

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