Sunday, September 19, 2010

BUS STORY # 202 (Migrant Worker)


He takes the seat across from me and is struggling to get his bus pass back into his wallet.

Older guy, all in black, including a black baseball cap. Unshaven.

“Too early in the morning for this,” he says, finally wedging the pass into a windowed compartment.

“You normally sleep in?”

“Yeah, but I got a job at the fair.”

He’s working in the State Fair employee commissary, and it starts with breakfast.

He explains he’s worked there before, but it’s just a job to tide him through to December when he’s starting a job in San Diego.

I ask him if he lives here or there.

He lives here. Right here, right in this neighborhood, all his life.

“I went to school right there 35 years ago,” he says, pointing to Manzano High School.

He says this area looks pretty much the same now as it did then.

I ask about the job in San Diego.

He explains he worked most of his life on computer electronics. “IBM, Honeywell, HP . . . ”

There’s not much call for him in Albuquerque right now. But San Diego looks promising.

“It’s expensive there -- you gotta have a bundle saved up just to get started,” he says. He’s planning to take the train to LA, then a bus down to San Diego.

At Eubank, he pulls the cord.

“Gonna get coffee first at Hastings,” he explains.

He’s got his standards. Most folks would walk the 10 yards from the stop to the Circle K for whatever’s on the burner. He’s gonna cross the intersection and walk into the corner shopping center where Hastings has a coffee bar.

I wish him luck -- and hope Hastings is open at this hour of the morning.

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