Sunday, January 09, 2011

BUS STORY # 218 (“As You Can Tell, I’ve Had A Problem With Alcohol Today”)


Choose Your Ride Tonight, originally uploaded by busboy4.


It’s later than usual, and when I board the bus, there are only half a dozen other riders on board. I swing into an empty seat and start taking off my hat and gloves.

Across the aisle, a woman is applying Chapstick. Over and over and over again. Then she puts the tube in her purse.

Next thing I know, she’s holding a blue plastic squeeze bottle over her upturned head. She’s using it to irrigate her eyes. The rocking of the bus makes it a challenge.

After she puts the bottle back in her purse, she looks around, spots me, and gives me a well-hello-there smile.

Let’s just say my guardian angel doesn’t have to go into alert mode.

I flash a quick smile of acknowledgment, then start rearranging my stuff.

A short while later, we pass a car dealership. She turns to me and says, “I didn’t know they sold Jeeps here.”

I explain it’s a Chrysler dealership, and it’s been there a long time.

She knows that, she just didn’t know they sold Jeeps there.

There’s a pause, then she says she misses her car.

I ask what happened to her car.

It’s in the driveway.

What’s wrong with it?

She ran into something.

A brief pause.

“I got a DWI.”

She goes on to explain that she woke up in the hospital and found herself handcuffed to the bed. Then she woke up again and the handcuffs were gone. She figured they were needed elsewhere.

A month later, she got a call saying the paperwork was filed all wrong, and she wasn’t going to be prosecuted. Then another month later, she got a call from the D.A.’s office saying they got the paperwork filed correctly and she was going to be prosecuted.

I ask if this is her first time.

Yes.

Does she know why she did it?

She was fighting with her boyfriend.

Pause.

“And I have a problem with alcohol.”

She says she deserved the ticket, and she doesn’t know how she’s ever going to stop drinking.

I ask if she’s ever thought about AA.

She turns her head to the window and doesn’t answer.

A few blocks later, we reach her stop. She turns in her seat and tries to stand up. She has to lean forward and grab the vertical bar by my seat to pull herself up. She pulls up slowly.

When she’s upright, she looks at me and says, “As you can tell, I’ve had a problem with alcohol today.”

I wish her luck, and watch as she makes her way, slowly and carefully, out the rear door.

You Drink, You Drive, You Lose, originally uploaded by busboy4.

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