For three weeks now, Iíve been riding the
metro to attend a downtown writing workshop.
The routine is the same everyday: Iíd
drive to Stafford at the eye-cringing crack of 6:30 and the
bus there takes me downtown. After the classes end at noon,
I ride back to Stafford, drive my car home, and go to work
Each metro ride is an hour. So basically,
back and forth, I have 2 hrs of sitting on the bus with
nothing to do.
But of course, I donít just do nothing. I
bring a magazine occasionally, and always my iPOD. But after
a few days of undulating rock music and undulating
sentences, my ears physically throb along with my brain.
So I started people-watching. The morning
crowd is chic. Professionally primped for the workday, the
men all have trousers and button-ups, the shine of their
leather belts matching the shine of their leather shoes. The
women have a little more variety; they wear dress suits or
skirts, and the clicks of their heels give off an air of
Needless to say, I didnít fit. Dressed in
jeans, a tee, and old sneakers, I was also armed with a
dollar and ten cents worth of pennies from the dusty piggy
at home for the bus fare. My daily uniform attracted annoyed
eyes from the bus drivers and the bus riders alike.
However, the afternoon is a different
story. Unlike the morning routine of taking the speedy HOV
route of the highway, in the afternoon, the bus creaks along
every single street downtown for about half an hour. But the
quality of my people-watching is definitely better.
The crowd is more eclectic. A father with
3 children and an uncapped milk bottle. A scantily dressed
woman holding a bible. A bevy of high school students
attending summer programs at Rice. An old man wearing a
soiled beige suit and fedora hat. And a curly-haired boy who
They are the regulars, and I have fun
imagining where they are going and where they are from. I
know when they get on and where they get off and the side of
the bus they sit.
The other day, I worked up the nerve to
talk to one of them. The curly-haired boy who draws, he
looked my age and I was intrigued at what objects on the bus
were his models. I complimented his drawings, and we became
friends. Now we sit together everyday, talking about
everything ranging from school subjects to life philosophy.
Maybe I wonít see him again after the
workshop is over. But for now, he is the cure of my bus