Sunday, July 04, 2010

BUS STORY # 191 (Shorts 15)

New Flyer and Old Flyer, originally uploaded by busboy4.

It’s still before sunrise, and there are three of us at the bus stop on the northeast corner of Lomas and Juan Tabo when the fireworks start. They’re coming off the electric wires running overhead. One guy asks if it was the birds. I hadn’t seen any on the wire, but I had seen several pigeons flying off from somewhere during the display. I scan the intersection for fried pigeons. Nothing there. I pull out my cell and dial 311. The operator puts me in touch with PNM Emergency. I tell my story. “It looks like the Fourth of July,” I add. “I’ll bet,” she says. Then she tells me they’ve already dispatched a crew to the area. The streetlights go out shortly afterwards, but I’m giving that to the approaching daylight.


The girl in front of me is holding a cell phone to her right ear. She’s listening to something hip-hop. So are the rest of us. I’m wondering if listening to a song on your cell is the most cost-effective way to get your musical entertainment. The driver calls out to turn that radio down, he can hear it all the way up there. She snaps the phone shut and puts it into a pocket.


I hear chamber music coming from what sounds like a transistor radio. It’s moving down the aisle and I realize it’s a ringtone. I look up to see a high school girl pulling her phone from a pocket in her backpack as she’s moving to the back of the bus. Dark sweatshirt, blue jeans, big gold hoop earrings. The music cuts off. “Wha’chew want,” she says to the cell. Chamber music!


I look up from my magazine to get my bearings. Then I look around me. There are five of us up on the platform. All but one of us is reading. Across from me is a couple reading from their bibles. The man has a worn leather volume and looks to be in the vicinity of Isaiah. He is following his finger and moving his lips. His wife has a well-thumbed paperback bible and looks like she’s smack dab in the middle of what some call the Pentateuch, some the Torah. To their right, a young man is reading a library book. I try and fail to get even a glimpse of the title. To his right a guy is holding his right hand out and furling and unfurling his fingers, one at a time, over and over again. His lips move with each unfurling. Not an iPod among us.


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