Sunday, October 31, 2010

BUS STORY # 208 (Mona Lisa)

mona, © Heather Johnston Photography, originally uploaded by studioheather.

School days are here again, and the northbound 141 is standing room only. When I board, there’s a line in the aisle from the rear platform to just behind the driver. I set my backpack between my feet, grab the overhead bar, and brace myself.

From where I’m standing, I can see clearly the road ahead and the face of our driver in her big rear view mirror. She’s a young gal, smooth face, narrow black frame glasses, hair pulled back in a bobbed pony tail. Smooth, untroubled face.

It’s at Haines, just as she’s started pulling away from the stop, that the car in the southbound lane decides it can turn left fast enough to beat the bus. If she hit the brakes, I don’t feel it. Feels more like she just stopped accelerating. The car whips by right in front of us. I watch her in the mirror. I see her eyes follow the car eastward down Haines. And I see her smile.

It’s not a did-you-see-that smile, or a laugh-out-loud smile, or a what-a-jerk smile or a that-was-close-smile, or any other kind of smile that I can relate to what just happened. It’s a quiet, enigmatic little smile.

A few minutes later, we’re approaching the eastbound exit to I-25, when another car races around us, then abruptly cuts in front of us and barely makes the exit ramp. The guy standing behind me says simply, “T-bone.” I look in the mirror in time to catch our driver following the car as it rockets through a latticework of white paint before cutting into the lane in front of another car. She’s watching all this with that same eerily quiet little smile.

I spend the rest of the ride thinking about this smile. By the time we reach my stop, I’ve come up with three possible explanations:
She’s on Prozac;
She’s mastered the Eightfold Path of the Buddha;
She’s memorized the license plate numbers and, come the night, there’s gonna be a reckoning.

The photo at the top of this story is titled “mona” © Heather Johnston Photography and is posted with the kind permission of studioheather. You can see this and all studioheather’s photos on Flickr at:


Anonymous Brenda said...

Another possible explaination:

There is a pool in the bus barn and she's up to 15 cut-offs today and is in the lead to win the fifteen bucks in the kitty!

Have a wonderful week, Busboy!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Busboy likes this!

7:46 PM  

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