Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

REFUGE ON THE RTD (REGIONAL TRANSIT DISTRICT)
Life got me down. Really down. The kind of down where you feel overwhelmed. Thinking you should do something, but are too paralyzed to even think of what to do first. It was all circumstantial of course, and none of my worries were even my own. But I was down, and sitting in my little apartment worrying was driving me crazy. So I went for a walk to the coffee shop and tried to ease my feelings of angst with a great big cup of coffee. In retrospect, that wasn’t such a good idea. Now I was mentally down and physically hyped up. Feeling like I was going to jump out of my own skin, I sought refuge in one of the few places that I knew would make me feel better.
I hopped on a bus. I hopped on the bus that went as far out of the city and back again. I went all the way to the back and took a seat, put my headphones in and almost immediately started to feel better. There’s something about the swaying of the bus and the hum of the tires that is calming. A bus is like a moving state of suspension. Like if you’re moving the world can’t really catch up to you. If you don’t slow down or stop, then you’re always ahead of reality.
This particular bus was wound through town first, and I caught glimpses of building and places that I’ve never seen. Grand old buildings of elaborate carved stone, little old stone buildings made of simple brick. People standing in line to enter said buildings, tourists wandering around lost. I could watch all of their worlds from the safety of the bus. I could lost myself in wondering what they were all doing there, where they were all from, and where they were all going. I could escape my own thoughts and replace them with the world of others.
The city gave way to the outskirts, and the tall buildings were replaced with tidy little neighborhoods with manicured lawns, graffiti painted alleyways and corner markets. I could see over the fences and into the backyards of the homes and the people who lived in them. Some were on the porch drinking a beer, others had smoke rising from the barbecue in the back yard. Like a silent voyeur, I rode through town absorbing the mysteries of strangers. I wondered if the people who lived in the tiny white house with the bright blue trim had problems like I was worrying about. Were their elders facing death? Were their loved ones facing health problems? Were their families aging and facing all the ravages of time such as mine? Were they aware that sometimes there’s absolutely nothing they can do to stop life from happening?
I’m sure they did.
The bus turned up a winding overpass, and below was a triangle of grass and trees surrounded by the highway. Underneath a triangle of trees I spied a couple sitting in lawn chairs. Next to a make-shift camp that was obviously serving as their home. A shopping cart full of belonging was parked near them, and they were relaxing and soaking up the sun. They sat there as if they were on a family camping trip, by choice, and not by circumstance that their existence consisted of a triangle of public land, a couple of tarps and two lawn chairs.
And I finally felt better. Maybe because I realized that there are always others who have a tougher lot in life. Maybe just because the caffeine finally wore off. But when the bus stopped at the station downtown, my sense of future doom had vanished. And as I began my hike up 16th Street, I remembered that the past is fleeting and the future is uncertain, but every moment is mine to control. I bought a hot dog and diet soda from the old German street vendor, and soaked up the sun as I watched the world go by, and enjoyed every moment of it.

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June 6, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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