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, August 28, 2007

Wheeeh! The "E" ride at RT

I was alone in the driver's side corner of the bench along the rear of the bus. About a dozen passengers were scattered in the seats beyond the benches that line the back of this old-style bus.

The Hispanic mother with a toddler daughter on her hip shepherded her preschool son to the opposite corner of the back of the bus, arranging her son and daughter on the bench against the window as she sat facing them on the back bench.

The girl looked around and then swung and hit her brother.

The boy swung and hit his sister.

The girl swung harder.

The boy swung harder.

And then the girl started crying, which finally brought the mother into the girl's game.

This girl will grow up to be an evil genius.

She is old enough to walk but not out of diapers. She sits quietly for a moment, one shoe on and one shoe off. I'll guess she's about 18 months. The boy is older, out of diapers, the sophisticated older brother. He's probably 4. I imagine he's anxious to start kindergarten.

* * *


The girl is now kneeling on the bench facing the window. With her left hand she holds tight to the top of the seat back and with her right she points at passing scenery.

"Wheeh ah wheeh ah wheeh!"

In her excitement, the girl stands and tries to jump up and down only to be restrained by her mother, who cautions her in Spanish. Held motionless my her mother, the girl loses interest in the outside and finally sits facing away from the window, her feet barely reaching the edge of the bench.

She makes tiny fists with her hands and rubs her eyes. Her mother picks her up and attempts to have her lay down on the bench next to her for a nap, but the girl is having nothing of it and won't stop wiggling until she is back on the bench next to her brother.

The brother watches his sister.

She whacks him in the arm.

He whacks her harder.

She whacks him back.

His return whack makes her cry. The mother finally intervenes.

There's a saintly air about the mother. Her patience seems boundless. She attempts to engage her son in a conversation, but the novelty of the bus ride is too distracting. The boy and girl are again kneeling on the bench watching Sacramento pass by.

* * *

The boy lies down on the bench, his head just touching the outer thigh of his sister.

She whacks him indignantly for this breach of her personal space.

He pretends to be asleep.

She nudges him.

He doesn't move.

She leans over and places her face in front of his. He suddenly opens his eyes and she squeals. The pair settle into a brief game of peek-a-boo.

Finally, play that doesn't require a motherly referee.

* * *

"Ha bee! Ha bee!"

The girl is back facing the window, chattering excitedly about something. Her brother is watching her, rubbing circles softly on her back. I imagine he pets the family puppy in much the same way.

The girl appears unaffected one way or the other by her brother's affection.

He watches her and rubs her back.

"Ha bee!" she exclaims.

When I was a child "E" signified the exciting rides at Disneyland. Today, "E" means a video game suitable for everyone. It was all "E," old and new, on the morning commute today.

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