Sunday, April 18, 2010

BUS STORY # 180 (Shorts 14)


HUGE, originally uploaded by busboy4.


Several stories back, I wrote about the annoying “Please show ID” announcement we got every time the driver recorded someone using a bus pass. (You can read it here.) That’s been fixed. Now the pass is recorded with either a “beep” or a “scre-e-e-e-beep.” The latter isn’t in the same league with fingernails on the chalkboard, but you can tell it would like to be. Still, it’s a vast improvement over the “Please show ID” message. Thank you, ABQ RIDE.

***

I’ve never seen the homebound 11 this full. Every seat is filled (really), and folks are standing in the aisle from back to front. At the stop just past Eubank, a bunch of folks get off. Some of the people in the aisles who remain nab seats. A young skateboarder grabs the seat just across from me, right at the front of the bus. The aisles fill right back up. The last guy to board is an old guy with a magnificent head of gray hair, a red backpack, and a dark blue Dallas Cowboys shirt. He looks over the seats, then starts to position himself for a standing ride. The skater jumps up and tells him to take the seat. “You sure?” says the old guy. “I get off in a couple of stops,” says the kid. The old guy nods to him, then slowly backs himself and his backpack into the seat.

***

Two Native American men looking like they’ve been on the road awhile are approaching the bus stop when they pull up about 10 yards out. They survey the group of us sitting and standing, waiting for the bus. They confer, quietly. After conferencing, they resume their approach. They stop at the bench where a Native American woman is sitting. They say something to the woman. They speak very softly, and there is a deference in their bearing which seems not of these times. The woman does not look at them, but she does shake her head no. They stand before her for just a bit, as if the “no” needs time to absorb. Then they move silently on, past the stop, past all the rest of us immigrant Americans, toward the intersection.

***

Two of the riders who board at San Mateo and Central end up sitting across from one another. The rider on the left is a lean, black guy in his early 30s. He’s wearing a white T-shirt, black jeans, and black work boots. The guy sitting across from him is a lean, Latino guy in his early 40’s. He’s wearing a baseball cap, white T-shirt, blue jeans and brown work boots. He says something to the guy across from him. There’s a response. After a couple more exchanges, the Latino introduces himself and the two riders reach out and – shake hands!

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