Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The People on the Bus

The Pittsburgh Ave turnoff, part of the 15 route.
I've been off of work a few days this week - between assignments. The special project ended early, and it's too early to start filling in for vacationers. The special project ended early partly because we are such an awesome team - worked myself out of a job... but i'm catching up on the Project O' the Day at home. I've been installing light fixtures, cleaning up the studio, I've got a ceiling fan to install (I hate ceiling fans - you get close enough to adjust them and WHAP you get it on the side of the head.)

In my travels this morning, my old familiar 7am Number 15 bus passed the corner exactly on the 41st ring of the Immaculate Conception church bell, as always.  Why does God have to ring the church bell 41 times every morning at 7 o clock? Although I've had some pretty nasty bus rides on the way home, the ride downtown in the morning is usually very pleasant, and the same people get on and sit in the same places every day. We don't talk much, but if we meet in the course of the day downtown, we exchange a look of "Hey, aren't you, you know, from the 15 bus in the morning, yeah, that guy who sits in the bench across from me in the back?"

Real life characters like the Expectorator - He gets on the bus at the same stop that I do.  He works for some logistics company headquartered Downtown.   Explaining that he has sinus problems that medical science cannot remediate, while we're waiting, he proceeds to cover the entire bus stop area with loogies.To his credit, he doesn't do this on the bus.  Wipe your feet, everybody.

And the Engineer. The engineer always sits in the same spot, right behind the side door.  He always has his nose in a very technical looking manual, different manual every day, but it's always pages of very technical diagrams and tables. He's probably the one they come to when one of the big machines starts going "Pocket-a-pocket-a" 

The Packer Guy - He Dresses in Green and Gold year round, and makes me wonder whatever happened to Jeff Kaufman, a guy I went to grade school with. It's not him - Hey Jeff, where the #$%# are you nowadays?  Packer Guy will cheerfully engage anyone in conversation about the Green Bay Packers. There's always something new in Packer Land.

Madame Librarian. She wears a skirt just below her knees, thick glasses, and very heavy looking boots. She sits oblivious to her surroundings constantly reading a different book every day.

Tall skinny young guy,  lanky, big thick glasses, usually wearing horizontal stripes, and a scarf in winter - Tell them the search is over - we've found Waldo.

Garlic Man - 'nuff said. We feel your presence, Dude.

Der Kommisar - He never speaks, he never smiles.  Tall, wearing a beret. He strides purposefully, with a sense of divine right to his seat, sits down, pulls out a tablet computer and with a regal flourish gestures the computer to do his bidding.

The Snow Queen - This is a case of extreme body language. This woman seems to know me, and makes a point of ignoring me.  I come in all full of  "Good morning" to the bus driver, with nods to some of the other regular passengers, but even this slight bit of camaraderie, though not directed at her, causes her stiffen in her seat, and her head snaps over to look out the window. I have never spoken to her. She works in my building, but always uses the elevator to the upper floors. In her 50s, meticulously well-dressed, straight blond medium length hair combed into frightening symmetrical regularity. At the bus stop, she stands on the line of the curb, staring straight ahead. I guess she's just shut herself off from all of us, it's not directed at me particularly. Hello, in there!

And, as I'm writing this, the agency called, asking if I can start working again, day after tomorrow.  Here we go again!


Leslie Hanna said...

This is the stuff of a book. Each of those people has a secret, and their stories meet on your bus. Could be worth writing.

Samantha Mozart said...

I'm with Leslie on this one, Gary. You are the consummate writer, ever the observer. I love watching people and wonder what stories they have to tell. When I was about 3, riding the trolley with my mother, she'd tell me not to stare at the passengers sitting on the bench across the aisle from us. I still haven't stopped staring.

Definitely a book in this one, and then the movie: "The 15." --bus, passengers.

Re the Expectorator: Let's hope he's not consumptive....