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

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Why is a guy who so loathes self-promotion maintaining a blog?

I caught the No. 82 bus that leaves American River College at 7:19 a.m. I wanted to stop on the way to work and get a haircut. When I boarded the bus I discovered that summer school had started. The back of the bus was filled with Mira Loma High School students. I ended up scrunched into a seat across from the side door. These old buses are really uncomfortable.

Writing is something I want to do. I feel I must do it.

At the Arden and Morse stop, a blind couple wait for the bus. Today, just the woman boards. The man, who is normally dressed in suit and tie when he rides the bus, is dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. While the woman finds her seat, the man turns and heads toward Arden. I watch as he waits to cross. Cars are racing past on Arden. As the light changes, the bus takes off and the blind man steps into the street. Just as he does, a car races around the corner from Morse onto to Arden. The blind man stops and sweeps his cane in front of him to make sure the way is clear. As the bus continues down Morse I lose sight of the blind man. What sort of a jerk cuts off a blind man crossing the street? I hope the karma payback for being that thoughtless will be especially painful.

What troubles me about blogging is that I feel guilty if I don't have anything to write.

The blind woman rides all the way to the end of the line at the 65th Street light rail station. She gets off the bus and makes her way through the crowd of people waiting to board. The crowd is not helpful. She is not as confident in her movement as the blind man. To get to the train she has to cross Q Street, which has no controls on traffic where she crosses. This is the second time I have helped her cross, letting her know when there is no traffic coming and when she reaches the other curb. There's a sidewalk vendor whose cart complicates getting to the train. As we reach the sidewalk, the vendor greets the woman and walks her around his shop.

Waiting for the train waiting inspiration is too . . . I can't think of the right word -- the write word.

The blind woman is wearing midcalf-length pink dress and white sweater. The morning air is cool. Her light brown hair reaches the middle of her back. She fidgets as she waits. On Monday, I rode with the blind man. He marched across Q Street confidently, headed diagonally to the space between the benches and a low wall. He negotiated the turn and then made his way to a bench that was occupied by a man and a woman. They didn't offer to get up and so he moved down and sat next to them. He got out his book to read with his hands while he waited.

When I worry about the blog, nothing comes. A spill-proof fretful hobby.

The train's arrival appeared to surprise the blind man. He rushed to put away the book, threw his bag over his shoulder, grabbed his cane and walked into a utility pole. It was all the fault of the man and woman who had refused to give up their seats. Their rudeness left the blind man seated about four feet further down the track, where the utility pole lived. He bounced off the pole and found the side of the train. He quickly worked his way up the train until he reached the door button. The seat immediately inside the car was available and he sat down and got his book out.

What I need is to relax and open my eyes. And I need to do it in that order. Then I can catch the stories as they ride the bus with me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right on, John.