Saturday, April 22, 2017
Bowling for mangoes
'Sunrise Boulevard.' I called out as we approached the stop.
"You're the only one who does that!" The young man standing up front was commenting on my calling out stops. The announcer system must not have been working that day, and I like to take those opportunities to do it the Old School way.
'Aw, there are others.' I came back in my contrary way.
"Not really. You're the only one I've seen since I moved here. A lot of them are just mean," fist-bumping on his way out.
"Hi, Sweets! How ya been?" The pleasant young lady was all smiles as she boarded. She seemed vaguely familiar as an especially friendly passenger from awhile back, and was excited to see me back on this route.
"I don't like it when drivers move around. Then I have to make new friends and that's not easy." As with all my passengers, I make it easy to be friends, no hard work required. A mile up the road, an old friend of hers boarded and suddenly I was old news as they settled into conversation.
Heading north out of downtown, we came upon 16th St. A man was stumbling toward the street, leaning down, arms outstretched. I slowed in case he might stumble into the street. As we got closer, I could see he was reaching for something moving on the ground. He had shaken some mangoes from a tree next to the sidewalk and was chasing them down.
"I'm a criminal, that's the guy." At least I think that's what the young guy with the gold grill mumble-whispered into my ear. I looked in the cabin mirror to make sure everything was ok, he sat back down and that was it.
Passing Catfish Dewey's at 40th St, there was a line waiting to get in. The next stop I picked up my friend who works there. Normally in a sociable mood, today he looked exhausted after prepping everything for dinner service.
Finally pulled into Central Terminal for our last trip of the day. The full bus unloaded to make their connections and I gestured to those waiting on the platform to board.
"You leavin' right away?" The 20-something lady asked.
"I thought so. You're 4 minutes late."
'Good to see you too!' Again with my contrary nature to flip frustration into humor.
Also appearing at the terminal was an older lady I'd never seen there before, but was familiar with as a regular way uptown on the 50.
'Are you gonna ride with me?' I asked hopefully, glad to see her doing well after hobbling around with a cane the last time. Another woman boarded at that moment and said she would ride with me. That prompted the first one to ride with me after all, at least to the Pompano station and switch to the 50 there. She stood up front a little while as we pulled out, letting me know she thinks I'm undercover with the FBI, and telling me about her new puppy.
"You people are too incompetent for words." The bitter sentiment directed toward me came after an older gentleman realized we were going the opposite way he wanted to go. The head sign hadn't changed when it was supposed to and he assumed it was correct. I always advise people to ask the driver if the bus is going where they want to go, regardless of what the head sign reads or even what direction the bus is facing. At the next safe stop, I popped the doors for him and a couple others, and pointed out the nearest stop for the direction he wanted to go. I wished him a good night as the full moon rose, pulling the tides.