Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scenes from the Class Struggle on the R5

You wait around a lot when you're poor.

I used to have to ride the bus home from work. It sucked. Although the schedule clearly said that a bus would arrive each half hour, it was not uncommon to wait an hour and a half for a bus if I happened to leave work late. So I'd wait there in the heat or the cold, listening to my MP3 player and trying to avoid eye contact with the other people waiting, because that would then be an invitation to talk or get stabbed.

Actually, the worst were two co-workers who shall not be named. Several times both of them would gang up on me, one on each side, talking to me while I turned my MP3 player up louder and brought my book up close enough to my face that Helen Keller could tell I wasn't listening. You'd think that they'd take the hint or realize that they could talk to each other without me standing there in the middle of their monologues like a totem pole, but they never seemed to catch on.

So after a while, the R5 might show up, and I'd get to sit down for the 30 minute ride home. Usually.

Sometimes the bus driver would stop in front of Publix, get off the still running bus and walk into the store. He'd be gone about 10 minutes while he bought his smokes and messed with my TV watching schedule.

I'd look around at the defeated bus riders. Didn't they realize that this guy just tacked another 10 minutes on to our ride? Were they just going to sit there and take it? Shouldn't we all be rising up? We were people, working people, not cattle. Was I going to have the balls to walk to the front of the bus and put it in drive? I'd get us all home in record time, and I wouldn't have to stop for my filthy habit.

Then the driver would trudge back on the bus, put it in gear and slowly drive away. My revolutionary fantasies would be put on hold. This time.

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