Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I made a grievous error, and for the first time, incited rage in every bus passenger. Often, I am the only passenger irritated, but last night it was my turn to screw up and avenge the bad vibes I’ve been spending for the last year. Oh, and to make up for the heavy sighing it wasn’t an empty bus. Every seat was filled on this tumultuous journey.
I was so excited (or anxious) about my adventure that the first street I saw that was L-A-word (looking for Lafayette) had its cord pulled (at Lanvale, miles from my destination).


The doors swing open and the bus struggles to a complete stop. Immediately realizing my error, I hide in my seat, hoping someone else will need the stop. No one moves forward and a soft murmur builds among the passengers.
“ANYONE GETTING OFF,” the bus driver hollers.
More silence, and everyone is looking at me.
“NO,” I yell to be heard in the front, “I MADE A MISTAKE.”
There is a sudden uproar.
“I’M SORRY,” I scream.
Their outrage is deafening.
“I DIDN’T MEAN TO, I WAS CONFUSED,” I try again, waiting for the bus to lumber forward.
Finally the bus driver mutters—I can’t hear over the passengers—and we move on.
“I FUCKED UP, SORRY,” I add, hoping everyone will realize that I made a mistake we should move on.
Now it is the silence that is deafening. I see in the windows’ reflection that the old man behind me is giving me a stern nod. People clear their throats in disapproval.
Not only have I offended the riders’ by not knowing where I’m going and pulling the cord on the wrong stop, but I have sensationalized the ride with explicit language. I vow to wash my mouth out with soap, or cheap beer, when I arrive at my destination.
When I get to the stop I exit near the front of the bus. I apologize to the driver, sheepishly. Despite her disappointment in me as a member of the community twenty minutes prior, she is kinder this time. She tells me it’s okay, we all make mistakes, and wishes me luck.

On the street I have a general idea of where I am going and head toward Lexington Street. I begin to cross the street when I get to the crosswalk and see a car. Like an idiot, I didn’t even look. I am parallel to a man a few years older than me, who narrowly avoids getting hit by a car, also. “I GUESS WE SHOULD WATCH NEXT TIME,” I yell.
We begin walking parallel on Lexington Street and he asks me where I am going. I hate to tell anyone I don’t know about myself, so I smile and shrug. I have the vague sense that I am being followed. Then I realize I’m obviously going the wrong way, and a man my age at the bus stop asks me where I’m going. But he doesn’t know where the street I’m looking for is either. The man crosses the street.
“I asked where you were going,” he says. I tell him I couldn’t hear him across the street, which is kind of true with my earbuds producing sound at full volume. “Well, where are you going?”
I sigh and tell him. “I know where that is!” He points to the Sidebar and then an awning, and explains it’s around the corner. Oh. “Come on, let’s go,” he says, and insists—to my mild irritation—that he walks me there.
He explains, as we walk, that he knows the owners. (When he lists their names and feeds me some gossip—that not everyone knows—I believe him. I’m petty.) He then talks about the event I’m going to, the bus line, the streets, and as we end the block, where he decides he’ll turn, letting me to keep my pride and walk alone, “I never look when I cross. What’s the point?”
I’m so relieved to make it—an hour later than I had intended—that I don’t bother to tell him how irritating it is to drive in the city and never know when someone will leap in front of your car without looking.
I thank him instead.

5 comments:

kate said...

that's a good story, good to know there are some kind people out there. we need to hang out sometime on the mta.

Katherine said...

which lines are you usually on? also, if you have stories, i'd love to share!

kate said...

i'm usually on the 3 or 11.

i live in charles village so i usually just take it to work (in fells point) when i decide it's too cold or i'm too lazy to bike ride.

anyway, i appreciate your comment, i always felt the same way as you until people started approaching me about things i had done, with questions etc. i always felt haunted by the fact that when i started speaking about things i had done that i was making it up on the spot. i didn't have the conviction or understanding that i thought i had when i was making something. it's all quite a conundrum really.

oh yeah when i was facebook stalking you i realized that you know sam hickey. i just met him a few days ago. he's a nice guy.

Katherine said...

oh, the three! my next lofty goal is to take it to Sofi's, which is my new obsession. (because handheld food that is rooted in the culture of street food, masquerading as classy food is incredibly exciting for me. so is anything containing sugar.)
i promise to wave say hello if we share a ride.

...i'm always too cold AND lazy. these last few days have made me wish i had what it takes to bike from towson to work though, because it's SO nice.

it IS a conundrum. one of my professor/advising people said most people aren't good at talking about their own work and with enough practice, i'll pass muster. sort of like she was saying, "the more you hate it, the better you are."
sam's the friend i was talking about! he is nice. i'm glad we're stuck in some classes together so i don't have to suffer alone...

kate said...

that's pretty weird that sam was the person you were talking about. the first night we met we got into a debate about digital vs tangible objects. it lasted way too long. and my girlfriend (who went to high school with him) is still talking about their little debate.

oh and sofi's is so yummy. llove it