In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Tag Archives: 4
Last week, my Gail came to town to meet her new granddaughter. On Saturday morning before she returned home, the four of us (Bus Nerd, Bus Chicklet, my Gail, and me) headed to Hi Spot for brunch. Bus Nerd and I have taken the bus to Hi Spot at least a zillion times (4 + 3, 48 + 3, or short walk + 3) since we’ve been married. Unfortunately, Saturday was the first time we’d done it with an infant. Dealing with the baby in the sling, the diaper bag, and my Gail’s bus newbie status distracted …
As promised, the rest of the story of Bus Chicklet’s arrival:
Many of you assumed from my last post that I rode the bus to the hospital while in labor. Alas! I wasn’t that heroic. The little chicklet had overstayed her welcome–enough past my due date that I had to be induced. So, on Halloween night, Bus Nerd and I rode the bus to the hospital as we had for all of my previous doctor’s appointments, sans contractions or ruptured membranes. The only difference was that we were carrying bags and feeling excited to meet our daughter.
On the day …
Bus Baby has arrived!
First name: Rosa, after Original Bus Chick
Middle name: Caroline, after my mom
Nickname: Bus Chicklet (thanks to the reader who suggested it last spring)
Birth date: 11/1/07
Birth time: 7:33 AM
Weight: 8 pounds, 7 ounces
We had planned a cab to the hospital, which is only a couple of miles from our house, and had also enlisted family and friends as backup transporters; however, because we had more warning than most people (more on that later), we …
Two middle-aged men, who are apparently acquaintances, are making conversation in the back of the bus. One of them takes a drink from a bottle of pop.
Middle-aged man #1: This tastes just like that orange ice cream we used to have back in the day–you know, with the cream in the middle? [Pause] “Want some?”
MAM #2: “No thanks, man.”
MAM #1: “Come on–have a taste! I don’t have any germs. Got a little cancer, but no germs.”
A third man, 10-15 years younger, gets on and joins the conversation. As the bus passes the new city hall, he …
On a particularly hot, slow and funky ride (on the 4, folks, this is saying something), a particularly funky passenger gets off at Harborview. As soon as the doors close, another passenger, red-faced and indignant, addresses his fellow riders in the front section.
Indignant passenger: “I don’t like stinky riders.”
Man across from IP: “Maybe he was doing dialysis. You know, the kidney has something to do with that gland that makes people…”
IP: “I don’t care what–I don’t like stinky riders. Most of the time, I get off just to get away from them.”
Friend of man across …
A twentysomething woman and her kindergarten-age daughter follow a twentysomething man onto the bus. They sit in the forward-facing seats across from his, daughter near the window, mother near the aisle, facing the object of her pursuit.
Twentysomething woman, speaking loudly enough for everyone on the bus to hear: “I just don’t understand it. Guys are always trying to talk to me. Pretty much everyone wants to be with me, and I turn them down just to see the looks on their faces. Now I’m giving you the opportunity, and you don’t want it.”
The twentysomething man sits silently, looking …
A young woman, to a male friend: “I got two new diagnoses, on top of the three I already have: OCD and agoraphobia.”
Male friend: “Really? But you seem so normal.”
Young woman: “That’s the problem; most crazies do.”
Back of the bus: A group of teenage boys is antagonizing a fortysomething man dressed in work clothes and boots.
Boys’ ringleader: “Man, I make more in an hour than you probably make in a whole day.”
Fortysomething man: “I make 54 bucks an hour.”
BR: “Seriously? What do you do?”
FM: “Electrician. Journeyman.”
Random boy: “You work every day?”
FM: “Seven days a week.”
BR, calculating: “Dang–you’re pulling in some serious cheese.”
The bus reaches fortysomething man’s stop, and he gets off.
BR, to his friends: “I’d stop hustling for a job that paid like that.”
Westbound 4, noon-ish:
A Seahawk hater and a Seahawk fan are arguing about the team’s chances against Chicago. The hater, who believes the Seahawks cheated their way to victory last Saturday (according to him, Romo’s bobble was the result of special teams players greasing the ball), claims they will lose badly. The fan is convinced of victory. In fact, he is so sure that the Hawks will make it all the way to Miami that he plans to wear “Crip blue” in their honor for the entire playoffs.
Says the Seahawk hater: “I guess you’ll be wearing it …