I’m waiting for the bus. Not the Greyhound, the city metro. It’s running late. Almost 10 minutes late now. One guy at the stop already got pissed, spit on the sidewalk and walked off muttering about missed connections. I had hoped his tantrum would trigger Murphy’s Law but apparently it is not uniformly enforced.
The lady sitting on the bench next to me is trying to sell 3 transfers for $2. She’d have better luck if they weren’t rumpled and worn. I’d take the losing bet if I hadn’t swiped my bus fare from petty cash at the office. I feel slightly guilty about my debt. I owe the petty cash box a little over a hundred and fifty dollars. All those bus rides, diet cokes, fivers to keep the cable check from bouncing, and odd dollars for lunch from The Tamale Lady are adding up.
The bus is pulling up and I can see why it’s running late. Two girls are in the stairwell, gesturing widely, their heads swiveling while their mouths yawp like fish out of water. The doors swing open. It sounds like the school gymnasium during recess on a rain day. The girls shout about respect and keeping one’s hands to one’s self. I think they are the aggressors. I don’t tell them that.
They tumble out of the bus, still yelling and waving, then walk off in the same direction as Missed Connection. Maybe they’ll meet up and have a cathartic conversation about respect, injustice and persecution. Damn the man!
I get on the bus and the driver signals me past, waiving the fare. Inexplicably, I feel swindled. Some of these riders won’t have to pay at all, but I have 2 transfers before I get within walking distance of home. I harrumph to myself and shuffle down the aisle.
As I sit down, I realize I have become one of them. A bus person. One of those people who are dressed half a step out if season, my hoodie nobby on the inside, the sleeves stretched out like cotton funnels. I’m carrying a reusable grocery bag full of odds and ends, mail, and library books. My hair hasn’t been properly cut in months and the grey is overtaking the cheap dye. And now I’m muttering to myself. Soon I’ll be trying to pawn off my transfers to pay down my petty cash debt….