More Row

I watch as the Green Line test train crosses 6th street, and at 10 AM, board in the midst of a conversation between the driver and a pleasant woman sitting in the front. Driver talking, “…yeah, they gotta get all the bugs worked out cuz it was coming off the tracks.” “Oh my!” She says. “Ya can’t have that come June 14th when they open it up.” “Oh my…no, that’s fer sure, ya can’t have that!” This went went on until 10:02, when the driver digresses. “I shoulda made the jump to the light rail a long time ago, but it’s too late now.” “Oh, sure,” she nods. “I’d lose all my seniority.” The lady could have stopped him here, but obviously, she is an enabler. Or maybe just lonely. “How long you been drivin’?” He’s been driving 21 years. Soon he is telling the story of finding his childhood best buddy. Hadn’t seen him since 1963. Last he’d heard, his buddy was living in Texas. He finally googled him and guess what? He’s living in Minneapolis! No way? Yes, way! Now the enabler shares that her very best friend in the world died suddenly of a stroke 4 years ago. How terrible. They take turns telling us about everyone each has ever known who has either died of a stroke, died unexpectedly or been paralyzed by jumping out of a moving bus. (Ok, so I made that last one up) This went on for 6 more agonizing minutes. Is there anything that will make this driver shut his pie hole? Turns out there is.

22 preschoolers climb on board, and the little munchkins pretty much fill every crevice and replace mind-numbing conversation with excited giggles and chatter. Their chaperones are standing, along with adults who relinquished their seats. When an elderly man boarded with his walker, two little girls have to relinquish their seat and join classmates near the back. I hear a little girl’s voice behind me, “There…I gave you more row.” And another child’s voice replies, “Thanks! Now we all fit!”

At 10:21, the kids all hopped off the bus to go visit the nursing home. Last stop before the airport, I hear the ramp go down. Driver says, “Ya gotta fold that stroller up.” A stroller comes into view, followed by a thin, beautiful woman with a head scarf. “What did you say?” Driver tries another approach, “Can you fold that stroller up for me?” “Oh…no, no I leave it like this.”

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