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Bus Story: Fiercely Out of Time

January 28, 2011

The evening air has a rapacious chill to it, but we are having a glorious sunset peeking through the tall buildings. There is something tweaking the forward momentum as our bus, and the traffic around us, sits…idling, inching. Ridership takes it in stride, settling deeper into books, iPhones, or vacantly staring out of the window. Trying a Maria Callas station on Pandora, I try to lose myself in the voices and drama flowing into my ears. A small drama is competing for my attention a few seats ahead. A very large fur-hooded man sits in the seats in the middle, bendy-portion of the bus. There are four seats there. He’s taking two with his wide frame; and then has his massive booted feet on the other two, effectively blocking passage between the front and the back of the bus. I watch as people head from the front to the back, but turn around and squeeze into other seats rather than ask him to move. Then he turns my way, and I understand a little: it’s like looking into the eyes of Ghengis Khan. It seems one of Khan’s horde has found himself on the ole 54 and has staked out his territory. He must be a little disoriented and confused. Perhaps I’ll switch on the speakers on my phone and hope the haunting strains of La Boehme lull him long enough to get me home. Nothing worse than a cranky 13th century Mongol warrior to put a kink in the evening commute.

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