I love my bus ride. All kinds of little interesting things happen every day, and some of them over time have started to congeal into bigger stories or something like that.
Something about prison, I can't figure it out yet, but at least 5 or 6 times guys, all of them gentle and sweet in some way, have mentioned being in prison or asked me if I've been in prison.
There is a dialysis clinic on the route, a one-story block building on a gray stretch of Manor Road. I assume it's for Medicaid patients. The people who get on and off the bus there, it's usually older men I notice, grey-faced, thin, holding bandages to their arms -- can you imagine being in dialysis all day and then having to make your way home on the bus by yourself? I ponder my own old age. These are the kinds of health care facilities I will likely be using.
Yesterday a young woman got on the bus with a little red-headed boy, maybe 4, and a baby. She gamely folded up the stroller and carried it along with the baby in one arm while she held the boy's hand and lurched onto the bus and into the seat next to me. She got on at one of the campus stops, and she had the look of an academic or maybe an academic's wife, strawberry blond hair going gray, L.L. Bean jumper dress. The boy had a bit of a black eye, and I started projecting all kinds of stories into his mother's head about how the kid had maybe fallen and smacked his eye on the coffee table but now every time she was out in public with him she was self-conscious and sure that people were wondering whether she was hitting the kid.
When this little family was getting off the bus, the boy stood up first and then the woman pushed herself up out of her seat. She shifted her weight to hitch the baby up onto her hip and her purse higher on her shoulder. The big wooden handle of the purse swung around and popped the boy in the head. He said, "Ow!" but otherwise didn't react, didn't start crying or anything, just followed her off the bus. It was very funny, the sort of 1 2 3 choreography of a Three Stooges bit, and I laughed. It made the woman laugh too. She blurted out, "I'm so sorry honey! I really smacked you, didn't I?" but she was as amused as I was.