Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Riding the Bus

I'm sitting in the crack on the bus, going to Seattle. You know what I mean, that place between the butt of the main part of the bus and the nose of the tag-along section. I didn't notice when I sat down. It's extra bumpy and I'm a little bit sick, though the loud music on my iPod seems to be helping, or making the trip a little more surreal. I'm not sure which.

If we're in an accident, I'll be trapped in twisted accordion plastic and my backpack will fall through to the asphalt. 

I'm practicing using the bus because next week, when it's 6:30 am and I need to be there at 7:45 am, I want to know what I'm doing. I am not quite a city person. When I lived near New York City, I got into the habit of driving in instead of using the subway or the train. I was addicted to my car. The aggressive driving didn't bother me, but parking was a bitch. So this is my indoctrination to riding a city bus. 

Most people wouldn't have this luxury, the time to get on the bus in a day when they have all day to figure out what they did wrong. Most people would struggle with it at 6:20 am on the day of jury duty. 

People on this bus look bored. I think it's fun. I haven't ridden the bus much. Before I had my driver's license, I used to walk a half mile to the highway and catch a bus to town there. Then I could walk all over before I went home. That was a simple small-town bus. This is city life. 

I smiled at the small Asian woman across from me in the crack. She's using a cane and I wondered how she managed. She looked away quickly and grabbed ahold of her backpack more tightly. 

This is a study in people not making eye contact. The lake is fogged in and we're in the netherworld. The guy across from me is alive, talking into his earbuds and making fleeting eye contact. I wonder if I look crazy. I'm in my usual uniform, blue jeans, tshirt, fleece vest, hoodie, bright red rain coat that can be seen from space, and my hiking boots. I carry my backpack. Most of these people wear jeans, sneakers, Goretex, and backpacks. I guess I look okay. 

We're in Seattle. That was quick! Before she got off at the International District, the small Asian woman looked up and gave me a quick smile. 

Now, I just have to get off at the right stop. Should be easy, but .....

My mappy thing on my iPhone doesn't work down here in the tunnels. Crap! And the eye contact thing stops me from asking a friendly question.   At least the recorded messages say things like "Seattle Public Library, Seattle Art Museum ."

When I got to street level, I knew not to stand there looking disoriented. A lady with a grocery cart started walking toward me and I moved more quickly and made a U-turn. It was the right direction. For a minute, I put my back against the foyer window of a MacDonalds while my iPhone told me where I was and calculated the destination to the courthouse, walking. Life is so much easier having the mappy thing on my iPhone. 

No problem. Five minutes later, I was at the security checkpoint at the courthouse where the nice but bemused security guy told me I couldn't bring liquids into the building. I wonder if they'll let me have my three ounces on Tuesday? 

So now, I'm at my true destination - Starbucks. 

I might wander around and look for a bookstore, but that might be futile and old fashioned. 

I'll let you know if I have trouble getting home. 

Thank you for listening, jb

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