Richard Brautigan's "certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along" was welcomed this morning after a week at the suburban ranch harvesting "Honey, Do..."
Back to work means back to the bus. And that's probably the best demonstration of what is wrong with the transit options in suburban areas served by Sacramento Regional Transit. Outside of commuting to work and the odd special event -- Jazz Festival, Mather Air Show, Raley's Field baseball -- there's little reason to leave the car at home when "Honey, Do ..." calls.
This morning I took my customary seat in the first elevated row in the back of the newer bus. In the front, three women occupied the seats immediately inside the door. As the bus continued on its route the matriarch of the three resumed her conversation with the driver. It was a very animated conversation, with the occasional hand gestures from the driver when the bus was stopped.
I have no idea what the topic was. The woman and the driver were talking in Russian or Ukrainian or Bulgarian or some language transplanted to Sacramento by the breakup of the former Soviet Union. As the saying goes, it was all Greek to me.
The matriarch did all of the talking for the three. It could have been grandmother, mother and daughter. Certainly they were family.
So engrossing was the conversation that the women forgot to remind the driver of their stop at Butano and Sam's Club. When everyone finally realized the mistake, the driver pulled over. The matriarch rose and stopped at the door. She turned and shook the driver's hand.
A woman anxious to get to the next stop pulled the stop request cord.
"Stop requested," announced the bus.
There was more talking as the matriarch and driver said their goodbyes. The two other women stood silently.
The anxious woman pulled the stop request cord again.
Once the three women were on the sidewalk, the driver gave a final wave. The women waved back. The driver then closed the doors and the bus traveled the half-block to the next stop, where the anxious woman anxiously departed.
I went back to my book, welcoming a return to my routine.