Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

An Enchanting Evening and Redemption on the 15 Bus

After last week’s display of horrific manners on the 65 bus, I battled with myself as to whether or not I wanted to take the lazy route home, via the 65 and 20 bus. I had two bags full of groceries, and laziness won out, and I once again found myself sitting at the bus stop waiting for the 65. It was getting dark, so I left my earbuds in my ears, but turned my music off, so I could be aware of my surroundings. A pre-teen boy and his mother came along after a few minutes and joined me.
I sat on the bend and he perched on the curb to the parking lot behind me, dressed in football shoulder pads and cleats, chowing down on snacks and drinking a Gatorade. His mother stood near him, chatting on the phone. She was attentive as he commented on how many calories were in his drink, responding with the statement that that’s why he only gets to drink it after practice. Eventually, like all young boys will do, the young man passed some gas, then laughed loudly and commented about it. The young mother quickly hung up the phone and scolded him.
“That is not okay. You are better than that. Talk like that makes you seem like a degenerate. That is beneath you. I know that because I’ve spent the last 11 years making sure you know how to behave.” He looked genuinely embarrassed, and she lightened up on him a little bit. “You save that for when you’re around your friends, or on the football field. But when you’re around other people you mind your manners. You hear?”
Wow, I felt a little bad as I could see the boy’s cheeks turn red, despite their already dark color.
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
“Okay, good. Just don’t go forgetting when you’re around other people.”
When the bus arrived they both motioned for me to board first, I’m sure because I was their “elder.” I heard the young man politely ask the driver for a transfer, then respectfully reward him with a “Thank you” before they took their seats. The ride was turning out to be unexpectedly pleasant.
Until I realized the 65 was running about ten minutes late. That meant I would probably miss my connection to the 20, and would be left standing in the dark, abandoned neighborhood for 30 minutes until the next bus came along. I was mentally prepared to do just that, and take my chances, rather than get off on Colfax and take the 15 bus. I bickered with myself over my options, I really hate the 15 bus. It’s always full of riff-raff, which are not the worst people on the bus. The worst people are the unhappy, soul less working class “suits” who commute home on the 15. They’re always mean, stingy with their seats, and in a hurry to get home. Did I mention I hate the 15?
I rationalized that when we reached Colfax, if I the 15 was within my sight, I would hop off and take it. If not, I would take my changes with the 20. As we pulled up to Colfax, not only could I see the 15, it was actually at the bus stop, waiting for those of us to transfer from the 65. It was meant to be, so I took a deep breath and stepped aboard the 15 bus. It was a whole different world.
“AAllllll aboard!” was the cry from the driver, whose name tag said Art. “How are you this evening? Glad to have you with us. Transfer young lady?” He greeted everyone with the enthusiasm of a man who loved his job. I took the first available seat, which was the front aisle, but there were no wheelchairs or seniors so I sat down. An elderly gentleman was seated across from me, and he was haggling the driver.
“I mean it Art. One day, I’m gonna take you to Judge Judy and then we know who’s right.”
“Who? Judge Judy? We don’t wanna go there. No way. She’ll eat both of us alive. She’s a mean one.”
“Judy? Really? You’re just afraid she’ll say I’m right.”
“Maybe so, but lets not take our chances.” Art and the senior bantered back and forth, with Art stopping the conversation to welcome each new passenger aboard, or to yell “Good Night” and wave as they exited out the back door.
I felt like I was on the party bus to Wendover. Everyone chatted with each other, people farther back chimed into the Judge Judy conversation, and everyone was laughing. I looked around and realized there wasn’t a single suit on the bus. No uptight, hurried passengers. Nope, everybody here had nowhere to be in a hurry. There was the one-armed man, whose arm had been severed between the shoulder and elbow, drinking his Pepsi and chatting with the toothless, sickly looking lady. Two men boarded at the next stop, one of which was walking with a cane. I promptly stood up and moved one seat back, offering him my seat. He scowled at me and muttered, “I hate theses seats. As soon as I sit down a wheel chair gets on and I have to move.”
The one-armed man turned and grinned at me.
“He’s just a cranky cripple.”
A young “punk” looking kid got on, and immediately recognized the sickly looking lady.
“Hey, how are you? I’m so glad you’re okay, I’ve been worried about you.” He was genuinely respectful and concerned as he leaned down and hugged her. “I don’t wanna squeeze you too tight, I know your bones are brittle.”
I listened as they caught up, him expressing concern for her health, her expressing concern for his education and working toward a vocation. Each stop brought more characters, and each one was welcomed by Art. He was proud of his bus full of misfits, and they were obviously fond of him.
I was almost tempted to ride the 15 all the way to the end, just to watch the others and be part of the community they had going on. But when it came time for my stop, Art was sure to thank me for riding his bus, bid me a hearty farewell, and invited me to join him and his rag-tag group again.

I spent the day slaving away in the kitchen…Okay, that’s not true. I actually threw some pork chops in the crock pot in the hobbit kitchen, then spent the day reading, jogging to the library and generally loafing around. I did, however, actually work up a slight sweat walking the two block to Colfax to get a bottle of wine from Argonaut. Anyway, by the end of the day my tiny apartment smelled delicious, and I whipped up a packet of mushroom rice while waiting for the Good Doctor to join me for dinner.
I knew it was going to be a magical evening when he genuinely raved about my cooking. That doesn’t happen often, nor do I cook for others often. Not since Jessica left home, and after 18 years she had become immune to the magic of my crock pot cooking and tuna casserole. So I was feeling very much like a domestic godess when we finished the meal and decided to take a walk downtown.
The weather was mild, with just enough of a chill in the air to be refreshing, but warm enough to stroll without coats. I wander my neighborhood and marvel in the beauty of the historic buildings regularly, but seldom have someone to share the splendor with. Especially someone who enjoys holding my hand as we wander and who laughs at my jokes, or seems genuinely interested as I regurgitate useless bits of information about the area. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but in all of my 44 years I had never truly enjoyed a romantic stroll. Given my penchant for non-romantic/hard-nosed/redneck/emotionally unavailable men, I guess its no surprise. But I was genuinely amazed at the warm fuzzies working their way through my body as I strolled hand-in-hand with the Good Doctor.
My intention was to walk the mall and savor the flavor of the evening crowd, and decided we needed a chocolate covered ice cream cone from McDonald’s for our journey. I was highly disappointed when the young man behind the counter informed me they were out of chocolate topping. Well, a plain ice cream didn’t sound very romantic, so I ordered a couple of warm apple pies. Again, the young man returned, only to inform me that they were out of apple pies.
We decided to walk down the mall in search of a different treat. We decided on a yogurt cone, which, in theory, was healthier fare, but given the size of the pile of yogurt stuffed in the waffle cone, well, it was delicious. We wandered down toward Lannie’s Clocktower, which on this night was lit up with purple lights. I wanted to show the Good Doctor the new plaza that I had visited with Tim and the kids, where we could play all manner of board games and ping-pong. Of course it was too late in the evening to play games, but we enjoyed our cones and talked about nothing.
Suddenly there were gasps, giggles and various sounds of wonderment coming from people on the street. We followed their gaze skyward, and I flinched as I saw the object of their curiosity. It appeared to be a blimp, but flying way too low, and way too small. It was actually a silver cylinder, about a foot around and maybe ten feet long, floating above the crowd. As the wind threw through the buildings, the balloon was swept up in the current, raising, then falling rapidly, a ballet of shining silver that was mesmerizing.
The balloon finally descended into the waiting arms of a middle-aged Hispanic man, who was grinning at the passersby he had enchanted. He bopped the bottom of the balloon with his fist, sending it shooting into the air once again, where it danced above us. We chatted with the gentleman and left with a smaller version of his wonder balloon. We wandered back up the hill toward home, and I mentally checked “romantic stroll” off my list of things to do in life…

October 20, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

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