Sunday, October 26, 2008

BUS STORY # 105 (Shorts 8)

Young couple on the aisle-facing bench seat up front. He’s got his arm around her, she’s leaning into him. They’re sharing an iPod. He’s got an earbud in his right ear, she’s got the other in her left. They’re both hunched forward, eyes closed, rocking in unison, and silently mouthing the lyrics. If it weren’t for the iPod, you’d think “prayer.”


I’m on the 6:31 a.m. Lomas inbound. We’re almost to Wyoming when I realize that, apart from the bus itself, the ride has been absolutely silent. It is almost full, with a pretty even mix of white collar, blue collar and student riders. At this hour, the absolute silence is not so remarkable. What’s remarkable is that no one, including any of the students, is wearing an earpiece of any kind.


The morning Rapid Ride stops for a red light at Louisiana. Bird movement catches my eye. First impression: one of the pigeons in the parking lot outside my window is trying to mount another pigeon. Second impression: it’s autumn; I shouldn’t be seeing mating behavior. I take a closer look. It’s not a pigeon trying to mount another pigeon, it’s a hawk! I can’t tell for sure, but I do know it's not a Kestrel. Maybe a Sharp-shinned migrating through town. He tries again, fluttering up and over the pigeon and coming down, talons extended. The pigeon skitters away again. The hawk looks confused and frustrated. I can almost hear the conversation: “Hey, hold still, dammit. I’m a hawk.” “I don’t care who you are, buddy. Go find a french fry and quit harassing me. Damn tourists.” The hawk tries one more time, but he looks like he’s lost his confidence. The pigeon eludes him with a little fancy footwork – he’s not even bothering with flying away. The hawk watches the pigeon dance away. He looks around at the other pigeons who seem unconcerned by what’s going on. He flies up and perches on the edge of the New Mexico Title Loans sign. He looks very hawk-like.


The woman is sitting in the last row talking to the man beside her. She is going on in a mix of English and Spanish about how good-looking she is and all the trouble it causes her. Even when she gets up at night to go to the bathroom, there’s always someone in the hallway staring at her. The two young guys in front of me are listening, too. One of them looks at the other, then makes the yak-yak-yak signal with his hand. The other guy grins and nods.


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