Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

CHAOS ON THE 65
I love riding the 65 bus. Gary is the driver—a fiftyish gentleman who retired from law enforcement and fills his weekends with driving the bus. He’s always happy to see me. I sit in the front of the bus and we chat, he makes a comment about going out for a beer, I make a comment about him bailing on his bus route and taking me home directly for a beer. The drive follows Monaco, the tree-lined street with a walkway of grass dividing the two sides, and remnants of Denver’s elite line either side in the form of elaborate brick mansions with white pillars out front. It’s shady and relaxing. Usually.
I greeted Gary and asked about his vacation—he’d just returned from a week on his houseboat in Lake Powell. Waiting at the next stop were two ladies, one in a wheelchair. Gary lowered the platform and brought them on board, and it was glaringly obvious that neither one of them had ever navigated a wheelchair on a bus before. The one seated had a recent injury, the bandages on her foot and lower leg were still pristine white. She and her partner were both a little heavy and both quite masculine, and were wearing matching rings on their ring fingers. It was safe to assume they were mates.
The seated lady began snapping at the other lady, as she tried to maneuver the wheelchair into a more stable position. They began bickering, and it was obvious they were mates. I moved to the next row of seats back, allowing them to lower the seats and finally settle on the position of the wheelchair. The one standing was trying to turn it around so the one sitting could face the front of the bus. The one sitting was frustrated and told the other one to just leave it where she was. Well, where she was was directly in front of me. Turned around so she was facing me. I had my headphones on and tried not to look at her, mostly because she looked like she was angry and probably in pain, and I really just wanted to enjoy my quiet ride home.
So we avoided looking at each other. The standing woman tried to soothe the injured woman, and from her body language it was obvious she was trying to get back into her good graces. Much like a husband who has been scolded by his wife sends flowers, this woman was determined to make her mate like her again. At the next stop she insisted on turning her injured mate around so she could see the beautiful view, and the mate relented and let her move the wheelchair. Gary didn’t see that they were moving, and when he pulled away from the curb the standing woman lurched forward, thrusting the woman’s injured outstretched leg directly into the seat in front of me. Hard. I realized that few things are more intimate than looking directly into the face of a screaming stranger, twisted in agony and not caring who sees. I cringed myself at the impact, it was a hard hit. The standing lady nearly fell to the floor herself—partly in sympathy but mostly because I suspected she knew she had just ruined any chances of redeeming herself, and would probably get a good slapping when they were alone. Tears rolled down the face of the injured woman as her mate apologized profusely, and I had to give her credit for maintaining her cool.
We rode in silence for a few blocks, then the standing woman informed Gary that she was going to take the time to properly adjust the wheelchair. He held the bus at the stop, which meant I would miss my connecting bus, but I wasn’t too concerned because the next stop involved a large patch of lawn under a crab apple tree, so I watched as the standing woman successfully got the wheel positioned so her beloved could see the view through the front windshield. She was pleased with herself, and waited for praise from her mate like a puppy who had just retrieved slippers for their master. The injured one smiled slightly and allowed the other to hold her hand. We began moving again and all was right with the world.
Until we came to the next stop. Apparently neither of the ladies thought about putting the brakes on the chair, and as Gary applied his brakes the wheelchair sped toward the front of the bus, the momentum being stopped only by the crashing of the injured foot into the front railing. More screaming, and I’m not sure at this point it was all coming from the injured woman. It was horrible to watch, and I caught Gary’s face in the mirror as he looked on with the horror we all felt. The standing partner would have jumped out the window had any of them been opened, and the screaming woman just continued to scream and whimper all the way to Colfax, where Gary finally put them off and there was peace on the 65 again.
“Tabatha, I guarantee one of those ladies is going to have a life of hell for the next week.” Gary informed me. “And I guarantee its not the one in the wheelchair.”

July 22, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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