As I put my quarters in the slot, the bits of hard boiled egg still floating around in my mouth taste like blood, and remind me of the broken tooth of a few weeks ago. I walk past a middle aged white man. I sit down and stare out the window. The man is sitting on the sideways seats at the front of the bus facing me. He begins talking, enunciating each word and using exaggerated facial expressions. I turn toward him, ready for some crazy behavior, when I realize he is talking to a baby hidden in the carrier next to him on the seat.
“There comes the grand canyon,” he croons, “Oh yes, there it is!”
A tiny black woman with a black knit cap on her head and giant ski gloves gets on the bus. She sits hunched and shivering in her seat. The man with the baby begins to talk with her.
“I am not used to this cold wedder,” She says.
“You’re not from around here then,” He says.
“No, I am from Zambia, in the south of Africa.”
“And it is warm there now?”
“Yes, it is probably quite hot.”
You just never know who you will be sharing a bus ride with.
I locked up the classroom and walked hard for the 1 1/2 miles to the bus stop, making just a minute before my bus pulled up.
A conversation that drifted from behind me on the bus:
“I will see you later, after I stop by the “get out” center.”
“I never heard of the “get out” center.”
“It’s really the drop in center, but I call it the get out center because one time I was eating there, it was 5:01, and the guy comes up and says, “What are you still doing here!” I say, “I’m eating!” And he says, “You gotta get out. We gotta clean up.” So I hadda take my food and get out. Whoever heard of finishing dinner at 5:00. But whatya gonna do? It’s a free meal or snack, more like, since you have ta eat so fast.”
“Wo, That sucks man. So are ya gonna make it later?”
“Yeah, I gotta a few things to do after I eat, but I’ll be there around six.”
“Alright, check ya later then.”
On a different bus later that day:
The woman from Zambia sits in front of me trying to keep warm, but she is small and from a country that is never cold, so it is an up hill battle for her.
I am trying not to be old. Most of the time it works, but every now and then old things just happen to me.