Tuesday, January 22, 2019

random moments from my bus ride

A woman sits down next to me. She smells good. That's a weird thing to say, but more often than not, the smells on the bus are not good, so this makes me very happy. I think it’s the coffee she’s sipping. Something warm and sweet.

It's dark out. I read Amy Hempel. Every time the bus stops, the lights are white, and when it starts up driving again, they settle into a deep mauve on my pages.

I make a little wish that the woman with the coffee that smells good stays sitting next to me as long as possible. I wonder if people ever make friends on buses, like just start talking and the next thing you know, they’re friends forever. I don’t know what people would say to start conversations on buses. You can’t just say to another woman, “I’m glad you smell good.” 

The sun starts to come up. We drive over the bridge and everything is a shade of stonewashed denim.

When the bus empties out more, she moves across the aisle to the other side. I'm a little sad to lose the warm, sweet scent, but I'm sure she's happy to have the chance to sit by herself. Almost immediately, a man entering the bus goes and sits next to her.

A conversation behind me between a boy and probably his mother, boy first:

“Look at that sculpture of pigs!”

“I see!”

“Look at the baby one.”

“I was just noticing that.”

“They call a baby pig a piglet. That’s how they got the idea of Winnie-the-Pooh. They thought of a baby pig and made up Piglet.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“They started with an idea. Next they started by drawing. They made a lot of drawings. And then they made it into a movie. And next they promoted it. So people would want to go see it. And now we have that movie! Pigs sometimes give people ideas.”
“That’s true.”

“Not always, but sometimes they give people ideas.”

Another woman sits down next to me. Luckily, she doesn't smell bad either. Whatever it is reminds me of Irish Spring soap.

As we get close to my work, I start to look for any of the few coworkers who sometimes take this bus. The only one I really know is on vacation. There’s a woman who rides with a man who may be her husband, and he always walks with her to the door of our work and then turns around and leaves and I think he gets back on the bus going the other way. Today, I see him come from the back of the bus, by himself. As he steps down the aisle, I notice the woman sitting up in the very front of the bus, on one of those sideways benches. They don’t say anything to each other. She stands and joins him to wait for the bus to stop.

They get out in front and I get out in back. I forget to thank the bus driver and then when I come up to the open front door I think maybe I’ll shout thank you through it, but I chicken out.

In the gravel of the sidewalk just about at the intersection, a railroad crossing sign is lying face-up. Undoubtedly the sign is two-sided, so it's also lying face-down.

As I cross the street, a novelty car or boat horn plays the first twelve notes of the song "Dixie." The horn says, Oh, I wish I were in the land of cotton.

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