I haven't ridden a bus to go shopping since I was a little girl, and I'd go with one of my MaMaw's to either Desiard Street in Monroe or downtown to Canal Street in New Orleans.
Today, I took the bus to do my shopping here on Staten Island. It's how you get around if you don't have a car.
You know, a car? That thing I sold?
It was an interesting journey down the main thoroughfare..... people get on, people get off, the same as on the train, only without the screaming crazy people. One guy was yelling at the bus stop... not at anyone, at the bus stop itself.
The driver just didn't open the door.
I miss the crazy people sitting there telling you about God and Martians and how George Bush really is going to save this country. I kept telling Mr. Cheney he really should find his Secret Service guys and stop grassroot stomping for his boss. It was too late.
He almost had ne believing in the Martians, though.
You cruise by a wealth of beauty shops at one point.... they sit in competition across the road from each other, both fully packed with patrons. The smell of chemical processing agents filled the air, and I noticed everyone's hair starting to curl and lighten up as we sat at a light.
Italian restaurants abound. Big ones, small ones, Mom and Pop size, something that you could put my extended family into, and have room for a few extra people. If you put your hand, you can be sure it will come back tasting of garlic.
There was the cleaners who proudly pronounced: We are a FRENCH Cleaner. Why do I believe if I go in, I'd be greeted with a sneer? "I don't really want your filthy laundry. I spit on your laundry.... it's what gives it that special sheen."
Everything imaginable is there, from autobody shops, to pool stores (where I can get the kit to fix my bed) to funeral homes. There is even a KMart, be still my heart.
I now live in suburbia....New York City style.
Who rides the bus?
A man who was quite large in every way but his feet. He had itty bitty feet encased in nice black shoes that were well kept. He read the Egyptian News, shaking his head and working his worry beads.
A couple.... both tiny. She had a scarf on, and he was meticulous. His pants crease would slice cheese. He had a beautifully groomed white mustache, and a dapper beret set just...so. He bowed slightly to his wife when he seated her, then stood over her while he was in the aisle. He didn't bend physically, you had the impression he was surrounding her being, however. That he was there for her. She'd look up and smile, and he would beam. When they left, he stepped back, took her hand to help her rise, and walked behind her, then somehow slipped ahead to help her down.
It was lovely to watch.
There were a number of women in their 60's with plastic sacks like mine, talking amongst themselves. I heard the stories of children and grandchildren. Of rent control and how crime is rising, how one group of teenagers is suddenly smoking marijuana outside on the stoop. Tsk's are heard.
A lone voice spoke up, "But, I like the smell."
They all break into laughter.
A older woman gets on in a tight dress and her long hair is bleached blonde over grey, pulled up in the front, and hanging to her waist in the back... someone told her once she looked good in that hairstyle long ago, and she's never forgotten the compliment. She had on a gold lame belt and high heels. Her eyebrows are drawn on, highly arched... giving her a coy, surprised look. My check is in the mail? Her rouge falls into her deep wrinkles. Her jewelry clanks and claps together as she sways with the bus. When she looks in the mirror before she walks out, she sees a beautiful young woman, long ash blonde hair flowing down.... and she smiles.
A teenage girl and her grandmother... "No, NO Nana, I'm fine standing. You sit." irritable voice...the woman reaches up, and touches this girl's face, and for a moment, you feel this connection between them before the girl moves away, back into her teenage self.
The young mother and her son. He sits and winks at me and I wink back. We play the game until my stop, when I struggle up the hill with my 47 sacks of stuff.
I'm not sure I'll like the bus as much as I do the train.... no welcoming rush of air, no crazy people... but, I get to look deep into a tree and see that first leaf turning. I know other leaves are going to heed the call, and swiftly go the same path. I have trees and plants and green everywhere here, and I like that quite a bit.
Besides, there is always the ferry to take me to the trains... and I'm loving me my ferry.