Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Miss Me and I'll Miss You Back

This is a photograph I took while I was in Oz of a kangaroo in a bizarrely human pose, just enjoying the leg room. Ok, everybody, I'm off to D.C. for all that stuff that goes along with someone dying. I'll be back next week. You all take care and remember to use protection. I'll leave you with a short observation about a tiny aspect of my life in the city. Every morning I wait in the cold or the rain or the snow or the blazing sunshine for the sixty-six bus. I am generally half an hour late for work so I take the bus with all the other people who are generally late too. I see the same tired group of travelers every morning and I have come to be fond of most of them although we have never spoken or even acknowledged each other with a nod. I know where their stops are and I even look forward to seeing them, but I have never been able to determine if they recognize me as well. It's possible that they do not, as I get on the bus fairly early on the line and it occurs to me that I have never noticed anyone who is already on the bus before it gets to my stop. It is the people who have already staked their claim on a small piece of real estate, a seat or a handhold, that notice the newcomers. Those getting on the bus are busy searching out a spot, vying for a seat, and squeezing their way down an aisle filled with back packs and elbows. They don't notice the sea of faces staring at them, recognizing them, silently welcoming them into our morning. There is the Asian girl who is shaped like a box but is nonetheless unbearably hip and sexy. She wears expensive, pointy shoes and thick eyeliner that tapers upward at the corner of each eyelid. Her face and manner are severe and I wonder if she intimidates her coworkers. There is the tall man with a ponytail that reaches all the way down his back. He wears a suit every day except when it's very hot out. Then he will forgo the jacket, but keep the shirt and tie. On these days he rolls his sleeves to just below the elbow. He has an enormous noggin and a face that is shaped like a pancake, and he wears a silver ring on the first finger of his right hand. He intrigues me because the expensive suits and shoes and his gray cashmere winter coat don't exactly jive with a long ponytail and a silver ring that is not a wedding band. I wonder if he secretly prides himself on his alternative tastes. There is the beautiful redhead who has a curvy body and wears it well. She folds her jeans square at the cuff and wears tight t-shirts and the same dark shade of lipstick every day. Her hair is cut short and stylish, with some kind of product in it that makes it shine, but not too much. I want her backpack. Instead of two straps, there is only one and it goes over the shoulder. It fits her snugly and when she wears it she looks tough and independent and feminine at the same time. There is the woman with long blonde dreadlocks and the pretty, brown girl who wears a leather hat in the winter and the pale boy who always looks like he's wearing his father's clothes and the girl with the red pea coat who smiles at whatever she is listening to on her walkman and the list goes on and on. I find it reassuring, seeing these same late-for-work people every day. On the rare occasion that I am on time for work there is a whole different gaggle of commuters on the bus and I feel lonely and lost somehow. It is interesting, I think, that a group of people whom I have never once acknowledged or spoken to can make me feel included in some way. As though we're all carpooling together by choice. As though I've stopped by to pick them up and we're all late together because we're the cool kids. Posted by Hello