Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nearly Normal

Today I picked the wrong seat on the bus. I sit down to find a pile of crushed peanut shells all around me, and there is a line of sticky liquid on the floor around it. Doesn't smell so I don't assume the worst--stream of juice box juice is my best guess--but maybe I don't really want to know. I just lift my flip flopped feet slightly off the ground and try my best to avoid it. For a sec, I consider moving but the bus begins to move and I relinquish the idea. After all, it's not as bad as the bloody Band Aid I found at my feet a week earlier. The rest of the ride is for the most part, uneventful and odor free and I allow myself to zone out. Then just before the bridge into downtown at the tail end of my ride, the older teenage boy sitting in front of me turns 180 and looks right at me. I swallow hard and think: Here we go.... "Excuse me. Do you know if this bus goes to Pine?" he asked. A normal question. It's the first. I've been asked if I were Hillary, would I leave Bill. I've been asked for money. And I've been asked in a threatening tone, "Who do you think you are?" Tho that last question I think was meant for someone in front of me or behind that only the lady who asked could see. She continued to ramble and cock her head in anger but I'm pretty sure she was leaving me out of it. Anyway, normal question happens. And I don't even have a good answer for it. Poor kid has to go to Pine which is a longer ride than mine, so I tell him I believe it does, but I'm not sure. All the while, I'm thinking: He knows I'm a regular on this bus. He senses it somehow. Do I really appear so comfortable on this bus? OMG! Do I smell?? I tell him people ask the bus driver questions all the time about their route, and that he should ask at the next stop. But he doesn't. I think he's a little nervous to walk to the front--maybe it's the mystery liquid on the floor that wigs him out. When my stop comes up, I tap him on the shoulder and confirm he needs Pine. I tell him I'll ask on my way out and give him the thumbs up if he should remain on the bus. Bus driver says good and I flash the kid a thumbs up just before exiting. Couple things I learned today on the 22: a) feels good to help a novice 22 commuter and b) keep your feet up.

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