Sunday, June 27, 2010

BUS STORY # 190 (Not Hawaii)


Across Lomas, I’m watching an old guy looking to cross the street. He’s got a small backpack and a cane for an obviously gimped-up leg. He’s nowhere near a crosswalk. It’s also four-thirty in the afternoon, and the traffic is heavy.

He waits for a break, then starts across. He’s slow. The west-bound turn lane on San Mateo starts pouring into Lomas. He throws a stiff-arm at the advancing traffic and keeps on hobbling toward the median. The traffic slows. No one honks until he reaches the median.

When there’s a break in the eastbound flow, he starts across toward the bench where I’m sitting, waiting for the 11. He reaches the sidewalk just in time. He turns and looks at the traffic rushing by, then collapses on the bench next to me.

“I was looking to buy a Stetson on Central,” he says, out of breath.

Forget Central is a mile south. There's still nothing to be said back to this.

“You know those kind that are made out of beaver?” he continues. “Only it’s rabbit, not beaver.”

After a brief pause, “It’s too hot for a Stetson.”

He starts rooting around in his pockets and finally pulls out a wallet. He opens the wallet and starts rooting around in it.

“You ever notice how people on Central get honk-happy in the
summer?”

I tell him I had never noticed that, and I asked him why he thought that was.

He tells me he’s from Hawaii, and there’s a strong Japanese influence in the culture there. People don’t yammer on, they don’t use bad language. They don’t honk. You honk and you get “the death eye.” He demonstrates a glower at the passing traffic for me.

I tell him we’re a long way from Hawaii.

“You bet your boots,” he replies.

He pulls a smaller credit-card size folder from his wallet and flips it open. I can see an ABQ RIDE bus pass in one of the windows.

“I got a limousine and a limousine driver, and they’re called the city bus.”

He tells me he lost his motorcycle when an old woman hit him. She was on a cell phone.

He explains how he settled out of court. She was 73 and she came right out and admitted to the cops she was on the phone. He figures at her age, she knew she was close to meeting her maker and she didn’t want to screw things up at the end, so she told the truth.

He’s no spring chicken himself, and he wasn’t looking for eternal litigation. He was happy to take what he could get right now.

The bus comes and we board. He sits down just behind the driver. The bus crosses San Mateo and stops on the other side. He leans forward and asks the driver where San Mateo is.

“We just crossed it,” replies the driver.

“That was San Mateo?”

Several riders confirm.

“Well, I gotta get off here.”

And he does. He staggers down the stairs and onto the sidewalk. As we pull away, I can see him hobbling back toward the intersection.

I have a sudden premonition: he's planning to catch the San Mateo bus to Lomas.
__________

The photo at the top of this story is titled Gillig Phantom as "The Beach Bus" @ Famous Hanauma Bay and is posted with the kind permission of indyinsane. You can see this and all indyinsane’s photos on Flickr at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bctransit/3193106959/

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoa, way sad, but fascinating and well told.
BBBH

10:32 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thank you, Anonymous BBBH.

2:42 PM  

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