Sunday, May 22, 2011

BUS STORY # 237 (Two Old Guys Have A Conversation)


After writing last week’s story about controversial bus advertisements, I overheard this conversation between two old guys. I was especially attuned because I go to the same barbershop and went to the same barber these guys were talking about. But I don’t think I’d have thought of it as Bus Story material before last week’s post. It occurs to me that this is the kind of conversation that makes riding the bus and interacting with one’s fellow riders a pleasant and positive experience. I prefer this to whatever fireworks might be generated by an argument between two riders over religion or politics. I think all of us just want to have a nice day, thank you.

An old guy boards, works his way down the aisle, nods toward another old guy in an aisle seat, then takes the aisle seat across from him.

“You’re riding late this morning.”

“Yeah, I’ve got an appointment at the VA.”

“What do you do? Catch the 16-18?”

“I get off at San Mateo and catch the San Mateo bus. It goes right into the VA, you know.”

“Oh, yeah, yeah.”

There’s a pause. Then the VA guy says, “I looked at myself in the mirror this morning, and I need to get my ears lowered.”

“Where do you go?”

“That place up near Menaul...It’s at the corner of Menaul and Juan Tabo, at the end of -- “

“The Foothills.”

“Yeah, that’s it.”

“I’ve been going there for years.”

“That’s my barbershop. I’ve been going there for years, too.”

“Yeah, I go to the girl in the back, you know, the one with dark hair, there in the back. I think her name is Lucy*”

“Yeah, I got a couple of ones I always go to.”

“You can’t beat the price.”

“That’s for sure.”

There is a pause.

“You remember the old Navy guy used to have the chair in the corner there on the left?”

“Oh, yeah. He was my barber. He died, what? A year ago?”

“Yeah, we swapped a lot of sea stories. I was in the Navy for 30 years.”

“I’ll bet you did.”

“He was always worried about his wife. I think she had cancer.”

“I think that’s right.”

“I didn’t know his health wasn’t good.”

“Well, I think he started going downhill after that motorcycle accident. I think he was in a lot of pain after that.”

“Yeah, he went into the VA for something, and he never came out.”

“I can’t remember his name.”

“Me, either.”

“There’s always a lot of turnover there. But he was always there.”

“Yeah, it took me a while to find somebody else. Then they moved on. But there’s a couple of girls there now that are good.”

“Where do you live?”

“Up near Turner.”

“That the closest barbershop?”

“I’ve been going there for years. I just catch the Juan Tabo.”

Roger.* His name was Roger.”

“That’s it.”

There’s a lull in the conversation. The bus arrives at San Mateo.

“Nice talking to you.”

“Same here. You have a good day.”

“I plan to.”

“Beautiful day out there.”

“Yes it is.”

The VA guy exits, and his co-rider and I watch him making his way toward the San Mateo stop. And then we move on.
__________

*Real name changed.
__________

The photo at the top of this story is titled “Bus Ride down the Strand” ⓒ All Rights Reserved and is posted with the kind permission of Reds.. You can see this and all Reds.’ photos on Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/reds42/3485936746/

3 Comments:

Anonymous Brenda said...

Just a snippet of two lives whose paths cross. What a small world, eh?

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A warm, sweet story. There must be a million barber shops in the city, amazing they both went to "yours". Must be pretty special. BBBH

7:10 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

I think both of you are right: what are the odds? As for the barbershop, I think the only thing that makes it special (besides location) is the relationship that springs up over time between you and the barber who cuts your hair the way you like it. It's a first-come first-serve shop, but most of the old guys waited for Roger, who was the only old guy barber.

But my co-rider is also right about not being able to beat the price. There's even a senior discount. Can't argue with that.

5:37 AM  

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