Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The One AM Bus

December 1

Dear Wichita,

I am writing this on the bus ride home from the bookstore, where I worked the late shift and where Amy's ex showed up, causing her to cry, contemplate, cry, and finally decide to get back together with him. He looks like a decent guy, I dunno why he wants to be with a headcase like Amy. Maybe she's good in bed. Whatever.

Anyway, it is just past 100am on the #43 bus route and there is only me and some homeless guy riding the bus. He looks pretty disheveled, even for a homeless guy. His clothes are held together by prayers and tape, his grey hair is snaking out from under his grimy white snowhat, and there is a noticeable odour coming from his direction. He is staring hard at the grooved floor of the bus and his head bounces like he is fighting off sleep.

The saving grace about my bus route is that it doesn't pass any college or high schools, so I am saved the agony of listening to girls gossip about one another and guys telling each other lies. I get a semi-professional crowd, middle management types, with the odd blue collar worker thrown in for good mix. Mind you, I only see these types on my way to work. Not too many secretaries riding the bus at 100am. Just the homeless and the twitchy drug addicts. And me. I travel in good company.

I lock into my headphones and my book when I ride the bus. It keeps the conversations to a minimum. I don't want people to think that I am looking for social contact, I get enough of that at work. I always sit on the aisle seat near a drafty door or window, my backpack in the seat against the window. No one asks you to move, they only ask you to move your bag. And I never make eye contact. Nobody makes eye contact anyway, everyone is lost in the grooves or wearing a distant stare, the passing buildings blurring unseen.

I watch people though, as we all ride the bus to our little responsibilities. I watch the forty-something lady who has too much makeup on try to talk to the balding forty-something guy who smashed into the glass ceiling a few years back and has simply accepted his fate. I watch the professional with hungry eyes scope out a pretty little secretary who is ten years younger than his wife. I watch the tradesmen take a swig from his flask. I watch them all because each one has a story to tell of how they ended up on this very bus at this very time. Ever since the trial I have become rather obsessed with coincidences and chance, the idea of being at the right place at the wrong time. Or vice versa.

I am becoming quite good at being alone in a crowd.



Post a Comment

<< Home