Sunday, July 01, 2012

BUS STORY # 295 (Portrait # 18: The Kid In The Gray Flannel Suit)

We board at the same place. Sometimes I get there before he does, sometimes he’s there before me. Either way, the bus comes quickly, and we board.

We take the same seats every morning. He sits in the seat across the aisle and one row up from mine.

From this angle, he kind of reminds me of a young Tom Cruise. And the way he’s dressed makes me wonder if he is, in fact, playing some kind of role.

He’s always in a suit. Sometimes it’s black, sometimes it’s pinstripes. Today, it’s dark gray. Always a white shirt with the cuffs visible at the end of his jacket sleeves. His ties are classy. His socks are sheer and black, and his shoes are cap toes, black and well-polished.

(Well, he’s not always in a suit. One morning he was wearing khakis, a blue blazer, and brown suede shoes. I figured it was Casual Day.)

Maybe it’s my age, or maybe it’s the culture, but I find myself wondering what this kid is doing in those grown-up’s clothes.

Still, there are kid signs. His hair sports that studied, mussed look that requires lots of product, and lots of mirror work.

He’s got on a pair of stylish, black designer sunglasses. They’re thick and clunky looking, but they’re stylish.

Later in the ride, he’ll raise the glasses to the top of his head. That’s stylish too, even though now there’s probably a lot of product on the inside lenses.

But not as stylish as it used to be. I’m seeing a lot of kids wearing their sunglasses backwards now, as if they had eyes in the back of their necks.

Maybe this makes glasses-on-top-of-head the conservative style these days.

He’s got the sunglasses on over his eyes when I first notice him. He’s reading with them on, which is probably why I noticed them in the first place.

He’s reading a slender magazine the size of a large appliance manual. The cover, however, is slick, with a black header and a blue body. I can make out the format on the pages from across the aisle: lots of very short, numbered paragraphs broken up by a series of bullet points -- never more than three. I can’t make out any of the words, and I have yet to get a clear view of the title on the cover. But he is studying it. I mean studying, too. He’s absorbed.

I’m thinking either the financial industry or the law.

And I’m thinking he might be an intern, not only because he looks so young, but also because he’s riding the bus.

So, which would be more likely to ride a city bus?

I’m leaning toward the law here. (I could be influenced by the fact one of my daughters-in-law took the bus to law school and her internship.) Lawyers -- solicitors, litigators, prosecutors, defenders, judges -- deal with the likes of us every day.

Financiers, on the other hand...

Yeah, I can’t picture it, either.


 The photo at the top of this story is titled “Chuck Taylors and a pinstripe suit,” © All Rights Reserved, and is posted with the kind permission of Punkartist. You can see all Punkartist’s photos on Flickr at:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating! I'm impressed at how you can make an observation most of us would miss or just take for granted and take it to an amazing level.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Car salesmen?

9:00 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

@ Anonymous: You’re very kind. Maybe Mrs. Busboy has set a better example than she thinks. She is always seeing and pointing out things I glossed right over. Language used in signs, sentences, advertisements, movie dialogue -- and how (terribly) other people are driving... I have really enjoyed watching this young man and trying to figure out the story.

@ Heather: Not a bad thought. You sent me looking for luxury and exotic car emporiums in Albuquerque. Not even a handful, and none of them in the downtown area. Dressed as he is, it would have to be a pretty high-end car. Not the typical dress of your standard Honda or Ford salesman here in Albuquerque.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind words Busboy--I'm delighted to discover your blog.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

A gracious acknowledgment of a comment. Addled in Edinburgh has been posting some wonderfully written essays on her blog, Not Reading On The Bus. You can find the link to her blog on the sidebar to the right of my posts, under Elsewhere.

6:08 PM  

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