Thursday, May 05, 2005

Riding into the Sunset.

Yesterday I left my ipod at home for the busride to and from work. The bus in the morning was packed as usual with high school kids still half asleep and grumpy as anything. There generally is very little conversation on the morning busride. About three quarters of the way downtown after all of the seats and most of the spots to stand had been taken an enormous woman got on carrying her walker. It was apparent that it had been a long time since this woman had any steady shelter nevermind a shower. The bus driver turned to ask for some of the kids in the front to move so she could sit down but he was too late. Most of them where fighting for position to get as far from her as they could.

Under her arm she carried a large Dean Koontz book. I've never been a big fan of his and cannot remember the title. She took her seat and scanned the kids around her obviously looking for someone to talk to. Anyone who has ever ridden the bus knows that rule #1 is never make eye contact. I have one of those faces that complete strangers love opening up to so it was very important that I keep my head down and try to observe without being observed. Luckily she found a polite young lady next to her to occupy her time.

"Do you like to read lots of books?" The large woman asked the girl. The girl is always struggling to carry her three or four large textbooks onto the bus in the morning and this day was no different. She nodded her head and kept looking at the floor but unfortunately it was too late for her.

"This is a great book," Large Lady said as she dropped her Koontz novel onto the lap of Polite Student. "You should tell your teacher that everyone wants to read this book." Large Lady had one of those voices that alerts everyone around -- Beware, Crazy lady talking. Polite Student held her ground and kept her eyes on the shoes of the person sitting across from her and said nothing. A smart move in my eyes.

Large Lady would not be deterred. The crazy ones never are. "I'm writing a book you know." Something in this statement sparked interest in Polite Student. Perhaps she is writing her own book or she wanted to intimidate Large Lady into backing down.

"Oh yeah, what's it about?" She asked defiantly. Polite Student has been riding the same bus I have for the last 8 months. I have never seen her talk to anyone. I am still confused as to what brought it out of her.

"It's complicated" Large Lady replied. "I write science fiction so it has to do with so many things." immediately the image of stacks and stacks of notebooks filled with ramblings ala Kevin Spacey's character in Seven came into my mind. I half chuckled but kept my cool so as not to attract attention.

"It has to do with space and water and people and computers and it is very complex and very dark just like life it gets very dark. There is a lot of very sad and depressing stuff."

A few moments passed without a word between the two of them. My stop was approaching and as I readied myself to get up and off the bus she said it.

"Don't worry sweetie it is still a story, so by the end everything works out."

One of my heroes (after my dad of course) has written that after weeks of trying to end one of his novels he asked his agent for advice on the problem. His agent came back "Ending a book is easy. Your hero gets on his horse and rides into the sunset." Its a lot like that I guess.

The point of all this -- What else have I been missing looking out the window and listening to my ipod?


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