Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Bus

Last night it was very difficult to get all the way home. Timing the buses is tricky when you don't know the schedule by heart, which I don't, so I left the office at precisely the wrong moment not knowing any better and ended up facing a half-hour wait for the next 10P at the Crystal City Metro stop. I decided to gamble, because even at a balmy 27 it felt more like 16, and went to catch the 10A a few blocks up. It was dark. I was afraid. When I got to the right street a hulking bus loomed out of the pitch, but its front display lights weren't working and I couldn't tell which route it ran. It was just across the intersection from me -- I was facing it -- but the lights were against us, which served me right because I had crossed to this wrong side of the road, wondering where exactly the stop was. At the last moment it drove past me, the feeble side window flashing 10A just for spite, and I wailed as it disappeared into the Virginia gloom. I ran alongside it knowing things were hopeless. Then I walked to dinner.

I was thinking I'd eat someplace near a different stop I know, so I had Thai, and just as the check was coming the bus drove past the window where I had been enjoying the fine neon view. I thought I could time it. I was wrong. It was dark. I was still afraid.

I finally got home, and this morning there was an adorable Russian girl, about four years old, kicking her feet in her chair and talking with her grandmother. I don't speak Russian, but I think the girl said she didn't want to sit near me any more.


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