Sunday, October 19, 2008


BUS STORY # 104 (White Horse)


I’ve seen the guy sitting across from me once before. I remember we got off at the same stop at University Hospital. We both headed into the UNM campus, but a block in, he took a left and I a right.

Today, we're on the ride back home.

He’s got a Sam Elliott look, with finer features and a slighter build. Gray hair, a fine gray moustache, both full and neatly trimmed. He’s wearing a long-sleeve shirt patterned with small gray and green squares. He’s got on light gray slacks, brown dress shoes. On his head is a black baseball cap with the outline of a horse in white and some blue and white script on the front: White Horse Media. He’s reading a book whose cover is obscured by his hand.

There’s another rider sitting immediately to his right, facing forward. He’s wearing cut-off jeans, a black sleeveless sweatshirt, and a blue bandanna headband. He’s dreadlocked, and his skin is multicultural. He leans forward and says, “I was wondering about your hat. Are you in the media business?”

The first rider tells him White Horse Media is a Christian organization. The white horse comes from Revelations, and has to do with the Second Coming.

(Later, I will google “White Horse Media” and learn this is a fundamentalist Christian “media ministry” out of Fresno, California. The name does indeed come from one of the better known lines from Revelations, “ . . .behold, a white horse . . . ” For 15 bucks plus shipping, I can order myself one of those caps in either firm fit or soft. I think my co-rider was wearing the soft.)

The second rider makes a couple more inquiries, trying to draw the first rider out on the subject of his beliefs. Then he sits back a bit and says, “Well, I was raised a Catholic, but . . . ”

My ears perk up. Usually, when someone opens a discussion of his or her religious beliefs with “I was raised Catholic but,” the listener is in for an interesting ride.

He does not disappoint. He spins out a wonderful confabulation of fractured Catholicism, Neo-Buddhism, New Age gnosticism, UFO lore, and sub-atomic particle theory, all packed into one creatively rolled spiritual spliff.

Throughout, the first rider sits with an attentive, thoughtful expression, and doesn’t say more than a couple of words. The second rider wraps up his discourse standing in the unlikely pulpit of the rear exit stairwell while the driver waits for him to actually exit. He finally does, and the first rider wishes him good luck.

When the back doors close, he shifts his face to mine. I see the faintest trace of an amused smile before he looks back down at his book and resumes his reading.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Pete said...

You've got a link this week to the Secretary Of Transportation Mary E. Peters talking about the need to finance improvements for intercity rail service. I didn’t see NM or the Rail Runner mentioned. But isn’t this the same woman who says bicycles and bike paths are not transportation?

6:30 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

First, Pete, it’s nice to know someone is looking at those links. I’ve sometimes wondered.

I did the same thing you did: scrolled down looking for our Rail Runner and didn’t find it. Maybe she’s waiting to see how we vote on the bond issue.

As for the bicycle thing, it looks like you’re correct. From what I’ve been able to gather from Google, after the Minneapolis bridge collapse in August, 2007, Ms Peters suggested transportation funds meant to go toward infrastructure like the bridge had been diverted to non-transportation areas. "There are museums that are being built with that money, bike paths, trails, repairing lighthouses. Those are some of the kind of things that that money is being spent on, as opposed to our infrastructure." Apparently, someone gave her the opportunity to restate the bit about bike paths. Instead, she ignited a firestorm in the biking community (and a ton of google material) by saying that projects like bike paths and trails "are really not transportation."

It would be interesting to see what percentage of folks use bikes for what percentage of the time as transportation. I have co-workers who ride to and from work every day regardless of the weather. We also know here in Albuquerque, the demand for bus rack space exceeds the supply. In Dallas, however, an otherwise very progressive area rapid transit system has just recently gotten around to adding bike racks to their buses. Maybe bike riding isn’t a form of transportation in Texas. And since the President is from Texas, and since Ms Peters is his Secretary of Transportation . . .

5:24 AM  
Anonymous pete said...

Maybe in Texas, horses are considered transportation instead of bicycles.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Ha!

But now that you mention it, I’d think incorporating horses into the public transportation system would be a real night mare . . .

6:37 AM  

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