Sunday, February 28, 2010

BUS STORY # 173 (Cars, Kids, Cars, Kids . . . )


Discover a Book, originally uploaded by busboy4.


She’s a bundled-all-in-pink, curly-haired blondie, five at the most. Her little brother is maybe three. They’re moving down the aisle, their dad behind them. Improbably, he finds two completely empty rows of seats across from one another. He directs the kids into the row to their right.

They pull up short. The little girl has her eyes set on the elevated platform at the back of the bus.

“C’mon, sit down.”

She takes the seat her dad wants her to take, her disappointment on full display. Slowly, reluctantly, she moves to the window seat. Her little brother sits beside her. Dad sits sideways in the aisle seat opposite him, feet in the aisle.

A fourth boarder sits in the seat in front of dad. He also swings sideways, and they begin to talk. It becomes obvious they’re all four together.

The kids are looking all around, taking everything and everybody in. The boy’s eyes are wide and unguarded, the girl’s curious but wary.

Dad pulls out a magazine which he shares with his buddy. It’s one of those used-cars-for-sale catalogs full of photos, and both guys are quickly absorbed.

The little girl stands up, turns around, and kneels in her seat facing back to the platform. Then she gets up, slides past her brother, and moves into the aisle. Dad is into the cars, oblivious.

She sees the red “Stop Requested” button on the pole by the back door and wanders over to it, looks at it curiously, reaches up and pushes it. In her world, nothing happens. In the bus world, the annunciator says “Stop requested” and the driver starts pulling over toward the coming stop.

Wanna know how to really irritate a bus driver? Activate the stop-requested system, then make sure no one exits when the bus comes to a stop and the doors pop open. I’m prepared for the worst.

Saved by the fact there is someone waiting at the stop.

The stop causes the little girl to lurch a bit. It gets dad’s attention.

“Siddown! Now!”

The little girl takes the bench seat facing the back door. Her brother is looking back wide-eyed at the commotion.

Dad returns to the magazine and the discussion with his friend. The little girl sits staring at the back doors. Her expression suggests she is trying very hard to work something out. Her brother stares at her for a while, then loses interest now that the fireworks have stopped.

She looks over to her right. She’s sharing the bench seat with a tall, old black man bundled up in an overcoat and watch cap. She looks up at his face. He looks down at hers. She watches him for a long time, and he watches back. From where I’m sitting, I can’t see what his face is doing. I wish I could.

Finally, her eyes wander to the children’s book holder bolted to the frame just behind and to the left of her seatmate.

(This is part of ABQ RIDE’s “Discover a Book” program. The goal of the program is to provide books for children to read on the bus.)

There’s a book in the holder.

She stares at the book, then turns toward her dad.

“Daddy.”

Nothing.

“Daddy.”

Nothing.

“DADDY!”

Dad and friend are entranced by the glossy car pictures.

She fidgets, stares at the back door, yawns.

Then, quite unexpectedly, dad looks up and says “What?”

She points to the book. He gets up, goes back to the bookrack, gets the book and hands it to her. He returns to his seat and the magazine. She opens the book.

There is big print on the right hand page, big pictures on the left. She pours over the pictures, turning each page. She begins talking to the pictures. She’s now as caught up in her pictures as her dad is in his.

Dad pulls the cord when their stop is coming up. At the stop, he herds the kids out the back door, the magazine now rolled up and stuck in his jacket pocket.

The little girl has left the book on her seat. Her seatmate picks it up and puts it back in the rack.

1 Comments:

Blogger Brian Hasegawa said...

Hey intresting stories i like them keep them up i totaly feel you on the gas thing though in california its like 3.02 right now :/

11:27 AM  

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