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Bus Story: A Purposeless Key

December 22, 2010

The holidays approach. Riders climb aboard toting more bags and parcels than usual, and, for some, there is a giddy, almost effervescent, excitement surrounding them. For most, however, the day is the same and it’s another trip into downtown way too early. One woman joins us and she’s very distracted and a bus-neophyte. The driver kindly helps her with how much and where to pay, and is attentive to waiting until she finds a seat before moving on. He, too, sensed her feeling like a alien. I watch her as she sits – she is holding car keys and can’t stop rubbing them, as if to make sure they are real and familiar. So now I understand. Her car is in the shop; there was a mechanic near the stop where she got on. So she’s bereft of her familiar mode of transport. More interestingly, she’s holding keys that, for the moment, have no purpose. Yet she clings to them as something tangible, with the hope and expectation they will again have purpose. Put the keys away, dear: they will serve well enough again when the time comes and, for now, enjoy the ole 54 and letting someone else drive for a change.

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From → Bus Stories

One Comment
  1. Perhaps the keys felt strange, not because they were not in the car, but that the one key, the ignition key itself was missing, handed over to the mechanic to end up on a cheap, thin metal temporary ring to be used by strangers that will push her seat back and adjust the mirrors that will, for a time, seem just a little off.

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