gall and gumption

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bus Ride 1

I got out of the Metro station quickly enough to be able to catch the bus that runs to my house. It was rather crowded and I was distracted and preoccupied and so found myself sitting in one of the back seats (they face inward, rather than forward) just as the toddler in the forward-facseat next to me began to scream. Opposite me was a Black Adonis of perfect manners. Next to me was a woman with a screaming toddler, for my sins, and this man spent a good part of the ten-minute ride smiling at the kid and trying to distract it. Not that scary smiling that creeps kids out but this sort of good-natured "Ah! There you are!" smile of recognition. It actually shut the toddler up by distracting him for a couple minutes. That was his way of dealing, compared with mine which was Crank up the iPod and Scowl. Then he, to my surprise, got off at my stop and as I stepped off the bus I almost collided with the passenger who had gotten off ahead of me (Mr Adonis was behind me) and this other passenger, pale and fat and looking somewhat unwell, was involved in some sort of contention or dispute with a signpost. The signpost was apparently not holding still long enough for him to grab it. He was fat and the sidewalk was narrow, and he kept sort of swaying slowly toward the post, grabbing it uncertainly, breathing heavily in deep concentration, and then, it appeared, he didn't know what to do next, and he'd lose his grip and have to start all over again. I watched this for about a minute and then I smelled the booze as in Whoanelly better get out of here so he doesn't vomit on my boots!, But Mr. Adonis was only aware of the struggle and not of the smell, and as I moved on I glanced back and saw him towering over the drunk man and heard him say, in a voice of the most unaffected gentleness and kindness, "Are you all right?"