Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Guy at the Bus Stop

This vignette has been rolling around in my head for many months now. Time to write it down.

Last November I began taking the bus into work every day. Highway 36 East to Denver. I'd ride my bike up to the bus stop, lock it up, and wait for the bus in one of two little shelters along the roadside. The shelters are separated by fifty or sixty feet.

I caught (and still catch) an early morning bus. At the time there was only one other person there, some guy I never did get a good look at because it was so dark, and the light from the street lamps was so poor.

We may have acknowledged each other with a grunt the first time we stood together in one of those two shelters. Beyond that we never spoke. Then there came a day when, according to the weather forecast, a storm loomed. I thought it might be a good idea to drive to the bus stop the next day, instead of ride my bike. But the parking lot signs were ambiguous. Did I have to pay? Did I need a sticker on the windshield? Would I get towed without one?

So I asked that other guy. I was pretty sure he always drove. No, he said, parking is free; the signs about paying referred to those bound for the airport, who might leave their cars for extended periods. Thanks, I replied. End of conversation.

The very next day, this guy moved to the second of those two shelters.

Was it something I said? Had my question been a faux pas?

He stood in that second shelter every day thereafter for months. He'd arrive, go into that other shelter, and immediately begin pacing back and forth.

Maybe my presence in that first shelter cramped his style.

He doesn't show up anymore.