Monday, October 26, 2009

Looking for love, in all the wrong places

There are days when all you search for is comfort.  Like when you used to stay in bed all day.  Craving the darkness like it was food, you bury your head under your pillow, and wrap the sleeping bag you've used as a blanket since high school around you so tight that you think you'll suffocate, even though that would be a relief from  the uncomfortable stabs of adrenaline your chest keeps telling your brain about.

But most days you get out of bed.  And when you do no one wonders about the red splotches along your forearms, or the cloudy, yellow eyes that stare back at them.  No one is for certain when they became accustomed to your slightly disheveled look.   You don't pretend to try and pass off your ill fitting clothes, or the stained undershirts you wear under your work uniform for fashion.  You have long since lost the neurotic worries that come from wearing your work uniform on the bus.

Now you sit on the bus and forget to pull in your stomach whenever an attractive women gets on board.  You watch her face carefully for all the familiar signs as she begins her mental assessment of you.

At first there is always The Hope.  We are programmed to give the benefit of the doubt to strangers.  So at first the eyes widen and you trail her vision as it does a quick take.   Up then down.  You notice the slight frown, or maybe it is just a relaxation of terse muscles.  Her unconscious brain sends her signals.  She is giving up on you.

You fiddle a bit with your ear phones and adjust the wire to your MP3 player.  This break in eye contact gives her time to sit down and throw a fake half-smile at you.  The smile is supposed to mean something to you like, "it's not as bad as it seems."

You are caught up in the unseasonable late afternoon heat of October in Arizona.  The heat of the mid-day is still a sweat inducing 91 degrees.  But the Metro Valley Bus driver has long since abandoned any pretense at keeping you cool.  The air conditioning has been turned off by the bus operator for some unknown reason. Maybe the bus driver has been told to save money, or maybe the bus driver was cold when he started the bus at 6 am.  The crisp morning air still brittle with moisture.

But by mid day the driver's decision is all wrong for the vacillating conditions that mark the beginning of winter in the desert.

Now the only air circulation on the bus is one or two small windows that decorate the upper side of the bus.  The windows are half open and provide some relief when the bus is moving, but mock you during rush hour traffic, or when the bus lurches suddenly and sharply backward to stop for eager passengers.  You feel their bitter disappointment as soon as they board when the door opens for them. 

All the passengers look back at the driver in hopes that the heat has gotten to him.  That he will take pity on them and turn on the air.

A few of the younger riders curse at their luck and wonder aloud why they have to pay $1.75 to ride in the heat.  But the driver just keeps driving.  He knows better than to get in a back an forth with them.

You know the driver has been driving buses for some time.  He is confident behind the wheel.  He tells the young couple sitting at the back of the bus with their feet propped up on the cushions to "take their feet down."

People do what they are told on the bus when the driver speaks with authority.  He has the purple uniform, and the pepper spray, and he decides if your expired bus pass needs to be replaced, and "No, not by that ticket, that ticket only gets you a ride on the light rail, you need to buy the other ticket."

So the mistaken patron runs over to the ticket selling kiosk again.  His blue bag in tow, he rumbles through the bag for his change, and coming up short manages to find his credit card.   He plucks the card from his wallet and mumbles under his breath a bit all the while taking sneak peaks back at the driver, hoping the driver does not drive off before the departing time says.

According to the kiosk he has 3 minutes before the bus departs the main bus depot, and belches a black stream of diesel smoke and chugs away into the middle turning lane leaving the twice luckless expired bus pass boy to curse the driver and stick his middle finger defiantly up at the rest of the bus passengers as he watches the bus pull away.

The boy chases for a bit, hoping to get in front of the bus.  So that the bus driver can feel his ire.  But the driver puts on a little more gas, enough to show he means business. And the boy lets the bus continue down it's path.  Choosing not to martyr himself completely.


most haunted said...

I started reading this and realized I can't handle your reptilian angst today. I'm sorry. I will try again later.

Romius T. said...

that's okay i am so bored of reading myself I want to vomit.