There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Monday, February 26, 2007

The dashing young transit rider

I looked up from my book to see a young man, no older than 25, walk past me to take a seat on the bench at the back of the bus. What attracted more than passing interest was his suit. He was wearing a pinstripe, navy blue suit, white shirt and stylish pastel tie.

You don't see a lot of suits on the bus -- on light rail, maybe, but not the bus I ride from home to the 65th light rail station.

He was a big man, both in height and weight. He wasn't fat, just big the way a football lineman is big. The suit looked new. It fit OK, but he had an air of someone who didn't wear a suit every day to work. The bright-colored umbrella also suggested that this was not a regular day.

In one of those odd ways my train of thought wanders, I was reminded of something I read in Sammy Davis Jr.'s autobiography, "Yes I Can." In the book, Davis talks about how he and his dad would take the train (or bus or something) to their jobs as vaudeville dancers. In an effort to keep the creases in his pants showman sharp, Sammy stood all the way to work. (The only other part of the book I remember is the gruesome details of how Davis lost his eye in an auto accident.) The guy in the suit wasn't standing, but I imagined him all dressed up on his way to an important rendezvous.

When we pulled into the bus stop at 65th Street, the downtown light rail train was already in the station. The young man rushed from the bus as soon as the doors opened and dashed across the street to the train, his umbrella waving at his side. As he reached the train he pressed the door button and it opened. He was in luck. The train operator had been busy boarding a wheelchair passenger.

By the time I walked across the street, the train announced that it was departing. I raised my hand to try the door button, but then I decided to wait for the next train. I have a good book and I don't have an appointment to make.

I was happy, though, that the young man made his train. I hope his job interview, or whatever he was dressed for, goes equally as well.

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