Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

The Right Bus?

Our department has a monthly food day, nominally in honor of whomever has birthdays that month. Today is July's snack day. I'd meant to make something for it, either sugar cookies or apple crisp from a mix I've got.

But I was working on my novel last night, and I didn't feel up to using up a few more hours baking and frosting cookies -- it's the frosting part that takes the longest, I've found. The apple crisp mix is quicker to make, but it didn't go over all that well the last time I brought it, and I kept putting it off, until it was too late to bake anything at all.

So I got up this morning and poured most of a giant bag of miniature Reese's into a plastic container, and brought that.

I didn't feel like carrying the candy all the way to the Linwood bus stop, so even though I got out the door in time to make the walk, I went to the Armour bus stop anyway. As I was approaching the stop, I saw Postman crossing the intersection from the opposite side of Armour. That was odd; he usually walks down Gillham. He was walking quickly, which made me wonder if the bus was coming.

It was -- early again! I dashed across the street, against the light, and got to the stop just ahead of it. Curiously, however, Postman had sat down on the bench beneath the stop's shelter, and he didn't stand as the bus pulled to a stop.

I boarded, glancing over my shoulder. There was a sudden babble of conversation on the bus: "Why isn't he getting on?"

"He's catching the next bus! Well, good." I thought that was from Paper-reading Lady, but I wasn't sure.

I fumbled by the fare machine: it was "Ozone Alert" day, which meant bus fares were only a quarter. I put my dollar back and went for a quarter, but as I was trying to drop it in the machine, the bus driver stopped me. She asked me to give my quarter to a woman who'd over paid earlier, which I did, and then gave me a transfer.

The seats at the front of the bus were mostly full, and I decided to stand rather than bothering to find one. "He must not like us anymore," I said, to the bus in general.

"Got his hand slapped one too many times," the bus driver said, sounding pleased. "He's finally decided to move on -- good." Paper-reading Lady said nothing, but gave me a quick glance and a brief smile before going back to her paper.

Knit-shirt Woman (this time it was small flowers instead of stripes, so I'll try a different phrase) shook her head, wearing a bemused smile and looking as puzzled as I felt.

The driver's tone perplexed me, as almost as much as Postman's curious absence. Was he going somewhere different today, and needed another bus? Or was he simply tired of the teasing?

Had I misinterpreted the teasing, after all, and it was meant as earnest dislike?

The mood on the bus was one of pleasant camaraderie. For the first time, I noticed that all the people at the front were women. One of them, whom I didn't remember seeing before, moved her bag to offer me a seat. I smiled and declined, explaining I was getting off in a minute.

One cannot learn very much in just two blocks on a bus. I got off at my stop, but the story continues to unfold, whether I am there to see it or not.
Tags: life, on the bus
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