It’s Monday. Bus arrives 9:57 AM (see previous post for relevance). It’s nearing 60 degrees, so most of us have finally shed winter gear for better or worse. A big old overcoat can hide the fact that a person has no taste in..uhh..sorry, umm, I…I’m distracted.
We look up from our books and cell phones upon hearing “beep, beep, beep…” The sound a garbage truck makes when backing up to trash bins, and the sound our bus makes when raising and lowering the ramp. An elderly woman boards with one of those multipurpose walkers. It certainly is a fine demonstration of its usefulness. Two paper grocery bags are wedged on the bench between the handles, and overflowing with god-knows-what. A dirty little teddy bear peeks over the top. I imagine for a microsecond that he is pleading with me to rescue him. In this fantasy I muster a smile, shrug my shoulders and say, “Sorry, little guy.” A heavy-laden plastic grocery bag is swaying from one handle, and a big brown handbag from the other. The old gal begins to navigate toward us, squeezing her handbrakes for dear life as the bus lurches forward. She quickly becomes jammed up. The seats in front are occupied by a couple of princesses, two middle-aged Somali women, a 60-something gal wearing a lavender pleather jacket, red pants and yellow velcro tennis shoes who hasn’t stopped talking for a minute, and a young man with shoulder-length, wavy brown hair and horn-rimmed glasses. This guy is sound asleep…head back, mouth open, arms folded across his chest and size 12 boots outstretched into the path of the oncoming walker. Before I have time to process the scene, a tall Black man in camouflage pants, sitting two rows up from me, springs into action. He steps forward, taps princess #1 on the shoulder and directs her to move back to his previous seat. Then, guides Somali woman #1 to princess #1’s previous seat across from sleeping man. The sudden activity startles sleeping man who wakes with one of those slurpy gasps and pulls his big feet out of the way so the old gal can get by to sit in the seat previously occupied by Somali woman #1. Princess #2 must be inspired by G.I. Joe (I’m going to call him G.I. Joe), because she stands up and motions Somali woman #2 to come sit by her friend. This left ample space for the old gal to sit by the window and tuck her walker out of the path. The old gal looks up at G.I. Joe and says, “Thank you, sir,” in a heavy Russian accent. He gives her a nod.
G.I. Joe steps off at the next stop, and a man in a black suit steps on. This man looks like a mannequin from where I sit. He remains standing in front, holding a black roller bag, with his back to us. I wish this guy had been here to witness the previous events. He probably thinks he’s just crossed paths with some goofball in camouflage pants and a blue plaid polo shirt. Little does he know, clothes don’t make the man.