Sunday, May 23, 2010

BUS STORY # 185 (Portrait # 7: Leader)


Watch Cap , originally uploaded by busboy4.


He’s got a face that’s seen it all, seen it all.

He’s a black man, not young, not old, who’s probably not as big as the impression he makes. I’d guess linebacker rather than fullback just because he looks like he’d rather take you down than run you over, but only because you were in his yard without asking, and even then, you’re making him take you down when he had other plans. And no mistake: when he takes you down, you’ll know you’ve been taken down.

In fact, he doesn’t really look like a football player. He looks like a lawyer or an ex-politician who might have played college ball. I’ve seen him in a suit a couple of times, but usually he’s wearing blue jeans or khakis, and an open neck dress shirt or a turtleneck. It’s always first-rate stuff. Great shoes, too.

Sometimes he’s got the right pants leg banded near the ankle. That’s when he’s riding his bike. He shaves his head, and he usually wears a hat of some kind. He looks great in all of them, but my favorite is the Navy watch cap.

He’s got one of those Deep River voices. The one time I heard it was when he spoke to another rider. He essentially told that rider to behave himself. It came across like, “Sit, Rover.” Rover sat. Smart dog.

But the rest of the time that voice is kept in reserve. Even when he’s getting ready to get off the bus, he speaks quietly. “Bike,” he says, indicating he’s got a bike he needs to take off the front rack. The voice is both quiet and impossible not to hear. He doesn’t waste a decibel. Or words, either.

He’s got presence. I can see him in the movies or on TV. He could be one of Jack Bauer’s Presidents. But I think his real role is the reluctant leader role where some disaster strikes – a towering inferno or an earthquake or a bus hijacking -- and everybody turns to him for direction. Which is exactly what I’d do. Then I’d do what he said, because whatever he does, his expression suggests he spends a lot of his time suffering fools, and not gladly.

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The photo at the top of this story comes from the Amazon.com website. You can see it here.
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Thanks to JM in Brooklyn for this week's featured link: Two Months Ago In: Düsseldorf (by way of NYC)

2 Comments:

Anonymous TwilightFreakishForever said...

Wow...cool. U r really observent. :)(in a good way)

7:53 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thanks.

10:41 PM  

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