Sunday, March 01, 2015

BUS STORY # 434 (Mr. Monk)



He’s an old, skinny guy, with a porkpie hat and a chin beard, and he looks just like a skinny Thelonius Monk from the 1962 album cover for “Monk’s Dream.”

He’s got a cane and a bag of groceries which look heavy from the way he sets them down by the till. He braces himself and gets his pass through the slot. Then he lifts the bag by its cloth handles and starts for the bench seat behind the driver.

His gait is stiff and slow, and he’s using that cane for all it’s worth. I’m wondering if both feet hurt. He’s got them encased in big leather hiking boots like you used to see on outdoor types back in the early ‘70s.

He gets himself settled into the seat and rides awhile.

Several blocks later, he pulls himself up, half lifts, half drags the bag toward the door, then uses his cane as a hook to pull the stop requested cord. He misses, and almost loses his balance. All kinds of hands from all over the bus go to the pull cord.

At the stop, the driver kneels the bus for him, and he hobbles to the doorway. Before exiting, he looks back at us and says “Thank you for bein’ so kind, y’all.” Then he turns back to the open door. Then stops, and looks back on more time, grins, and says “Y’all need to smile more. Keep on smilin’.”

He exits, and I look around. We are all grinning away, basking in this abrupt feel-good vibe Mr. Monk has left hanging in the air like a sustained, final chord.

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