To bus, or not. That is sometimes a question.

I took the bus downtown last Sunday. It was pouring rain outside, but I had promised my friend, Lisa, that I would come to visit her at a Mano, that cute little shoe store. As I walked a block to the closest stop, a van came by and splashed me with water from behind, from head to toe. The umbrella helped a bit, but I had water down the back of my jeans. My shoes got the worst of it, I think. It really made me (almost) feel like crying in an “are you kidding me?” way, and it got (no) better from there.

As I waited at the bus stop, I took down my umbrella. Within seconds, a car came by and water splashed up on my face.  Gross, I know.  And, no, I did not have my mouth open (a friend asked afterward).

The bus arrived, and I gladly boarded. Take that, rain and you fast cars that like to splash pedestrians. The bus was crowded but there was a free seat near the front. I decided to grab it, causing a woman with short-ish blond hair to slide over to the seat closest to the window. I soon regretted this decision, as she was talk-shouting with a man seated diagonally from us. He had two small children with him, was sporting a sort of bowl hair cut and wearing a wedding ring.

No matter the latter, the woman seated next to me continued to scream-shout at him, asking questions about the kids (Is he Indian? No, Chinese.)  and sharing details about a recent trip to Mexico. “I got high once or twice,” she shouted to the entire bus. “And my friends gave me some stuff to take back with me,” she announced, proudly. She then went on to describe how the police boarded a bus she was on while coming back to the States, so she bolted to the bathroom and flushed the drugs down the toilet.

At one point, she softly scolded the kid for not answering his dad’s question. It made me think that perhaps they knew each other prior to the bus ride. The guy then asked the woman, “Does that mean I’m a bad father?” (It was, incidentally, Father’s Day.) Oh, no, the woman said. Kids just have so much on their minds, and their minds are always wandering, and they’re not always paying attention to what you ask. She complimented the man’s son on his brown corduroys and shoes. She then stood up, turned around to show the label (which I never heard of) to the man and kid, and started talking about her designer jeans. Her movement caused me to shift over a bit because it’s not like there is really room for modeling on a bus.  I remember her mentioning designer jeans twice because, of course, I’m sure the kid cared about that.

Just your basic Sunday conversation on the bus, ya know.

The man and his kids got off the bus at the second stop downtown (Westlake/Nordstrom), and the woman immediately got up and moved a few rows back. The sudden departure made me realize she had no idea, really, who those people were.  She started talking with someone immediately, describing how she was on her was to Chinatown (AKA the International District). Her friends were there, she said, and it sounded like there were more drug connections there. “I got high already this morning,” she said triumphantly.   As annoyed as I was to have ended up next to her on the bus, it also made me pretty thankful to not have an addiction like hers. It would be a pretty sad existence to be searching for that drug connection every day, and showing my unknown designer jeans-clad butt to strangers on the bus.

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