Sunday, October 14, 2012

BUS STORY # 310 (Shorts 27)

Rise Up! by busboy4
Rise Up!, a photo by busboy4 on Flickr.

***

She’s got one of those old silver “flying saucer” CD players on her lap and ear buds in each ear.  She’s been sitting there quietly, looking straight ahead, when she takes the CD player and makes a sandwich out of it with both hands.  Her hands are in the “praying hands” formation, the player in between.  I look up and see her head bowed, her eyes shut tight, and a furrowed forehead.  She maintains this pose for several minutes, including through one stop.  Then she puts the player back in her lap, reaches for a medallion hanging from around her neck, kisses it and makes a quick Sign of the Cross with it.  Then she opens her eyes and is back on the bus with the rest of us.

***

Like a lot of other riders this morning, he’s taken one seat and put his backpack in the other.  He stands out for a couple of reasons.  First, he’s the only guy on the bus wearing a shirt and tie.  And second, his face is late 60s but his hair is a monotone brown.  He’s reading a book, and he stays deep into it as the bus gradually fills up.  The third reason he ends up standing out is this:  After one boarder takes a standing position by the rear doors, he looks up from his book, scans the bus, then puts his backpack on the floor and moves over by the window.  He’s the only guy whose backpack was taking up another seat who does this.

***

The rider directly in front of me is reading a book. I look over his shoulder -- her shoulder? -- I can see a blue quilted jacket and red hair pulled back in a pony tail, but for the life of me, I can’t tell my co-rider’s gender from where I’m sitting. But I can see the pages of the book, and he or she is reading -- poetry! Poetry on the bus! I can make out the title of the poem on the right hand page: “The Life.” A few minutes later, the page is turned, and I see “One Thing Or Another.” Later, I will google both titles. On PoemHunter.com, “One Thing Or Another” turns up a recent author, Zane Lewis. Posted just last month. Too new for the book, I suspect. “The Life” strikes out. Zane Lewis the poet strikes out, too. Unless he’s also Zane Lewis the Texas country singer or the Brooklyn visual artist.

***

Our driver is in a bad mood today.  He isn’t acknowledging the greetings of the regulars, and he doesn’t have any patience for riders deciding to locate their fare or pass after they’ve reached the till. Between stops, the runs are fast and the stops are hard.  A woman sitting in the bench seats across from the driver announces to the rest of us that she’s been knowing this driver for a long time now, but this afternoon, he won’t even give her the time of day.  We watch the driver's right arm shoot out, index finger pointing above the windshield to where the date and time ribbon is streaming across.  The front end of the bus erupts with laughter.

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Thanks to Paul Ingles right here in Albuquerque for this week’s featured link from Chicago’s Third Coast International Audio Festival.

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Back in January, I started a sidebar project called This Week’s Featured Bus Song. This week is the final post in the series -- an outstanding version of “The Wheels On The Bus (Go Round And Round)” by Mad’Donna. You can read about the idea behind it here. It’s been fun. Thanks, Mer.

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