Sunday, March 25, 2012

BUS STORY # 281 (In Tia’s World)

Woman and child by Vagabond Shutterbug
Woman and child, a photo by Vagabond Shutterbug on Flickr.

I hear a cell phone ringing faintly but nearby. The woman next to me slaps the side of her purse, then says to it: “You can ring all you want. I’m on the bus.”

She’s probably in her 50s, more a tia than an abuela what with her gray hair clippered close on the sides and back, and piled in curls on top of her head.

She looks over at me, and explains.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve told them not to call me when I’m on the bus.”

She doesn’t explain who “they” are, but she does go on to explain they’re just going to have to wait because she’s not about to have a private conversation on the bus where everybody can hear everything. As if there were ever anything to overhear.

I can tell from her voice she means what she says.

A little later, we watch a girl board with a stroller and baby. She’s a practiced bus-riding mama. She’s got the kid tucked under her left arm, has the stroller propped against the till and pinned there with her right thigh, and has her purse perfectly positioned so she can reach her bus pass with her right hand and slide it through the slot. She gets it right the first time, too.

Tia, looking straight ahead, says, “Too young, too young.”

I don’t say anything. The girl looks like she might be out of high school.

She deftly maneuvers her plus-size self, her baby, and the stroller, to the side bench behind the driver and settles in.

“You know some of them get tired of them after a while and don’t take care of them. Or worse.”

I start to answer our young mom doesn’t look like she’s that kind of mom, but I stop myself. I sense her mind is already made up on this particular topic, and so I let it ride.

A little later, she says, still looking straight ahead, “Can you believe this cop tried to give me a ticket for crossing the street.”

I look at her, but don’t say anything. I figure the look says “Tell me more,” and I am right.

She tells me she was returning to her house from across the street and stopped in the median to wait for the traffic to clear. The cop came along and told her she was jaywalking.

“‘I beg your pardon?’ I told him.”

She says he started spouting something about the law and told her he could write her a ticket, or else give her a warning, and he wasn’t sure which he was going to do.

She told him to do whatever he had to do. But she thought it was pretty silly to expect her to walk halfway down the block to cross at the corner, then walk halfway back up the block to her house.

She says he was young. She guessed he didn’t have anything better to do that morning. But he didn’t give her a ticket. He told her he made the rounds in this neighborhood and he better not catch her standing on the median anymore.

She gets off the stop before mine.

“Have a good day,” she tells me.

I figure I’d better do as she says. I don’t want any trouble.


The photo at the top of this story is titled “Woman and child,” and is posted with the kind permission of Vagabond Shutterbug. You can see all Vagabond Shutterbug’s photos on Flickr at:


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