Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Please be patient

Sunny, rainy, sunny. A settled pattern with unsettled weather of a Sunday on Atlantic Blvd. A relatively brief east-west route in the narrow north end of the county, the 42 bridges the length between A1A and the western suburbs. While weekday afternoons are notoriously unreliable during the relentless congestion where schedules become fodder under so many axles, the weekend version runs like clockwork. Regardless of the day however, some things never change.

Approaching the Magner warehouses near Powerline, the slim figure of a young man went skipping across the entire width of the boulevard - six lanes and a sizeable median. Once across, he waved for the bus, and anticipating this was the reason for the mad dash I was able to make the stop.
"I lost my bus card, can you gimme a ride to the next stop?" At this point where the surface street intersects with Andrews Ave and I-95, the next stop is a good half mile away. Perhaps I hesitated too long in my generosity, since he felt compelled to go on.
"Today is my birthday!"
I wished him a happy birthday and kept it moving.

At the east layover, there was ample time to secure the bus and take a needed walk. Glancing out over Atlantic Blvd's namesake, the shimmering shallows lapped silently in the morning light while pleasure craft drifted a couple miles offshore. A small cluster of cyclists sped by on A1A.

That part of the beach has no dedicated parking lot, so limited street parking is the only option. A SUV was having some difficulty maneuvering to parallel park, taking repeated attempts to fit in the slot between other vehicles. The teen girl in the driver seat looked focused yet a little overwhelmed. Her bumper sticker read: Student Driver. Please be patient.

Sunny, rainy, cloudy, rainy.

Halfway into the shift, I heard a disturbing call over the radio: the other 42 bus driver had a passenger who urinated on the bus and he was instructed to return to the garage. At that time there were only two buses on the route, and after that call I was the only one out there. This hadn't happened before so I wasn't sure what to expect. I figured we'd be ok the rest of the trip, but after that was anyone's guess. Sure enough, the complaints started to come in, repeated refrains of waiting 2 hours for the bus. I apologized and sympathized and kept it moving. An elderly gentleman with a walker concerned me; he needed to get to his wife in the nursing home and now would have little time to be with her.

Late in the shift I picked up a familiar face, not from the bus since I only picked her up a couple times before, but rather from a friend's art show a few months earlier. An older woman with a trademark ball cap, we'd been introduced and she named another driver she was fond of on another route. Now I asked her how our mutual friend from the art show was, and she gave a confused look, not knowing who I was talking about. She didn't recall me, or the art show either.
"I can't remember one face from the next." She admitted with regret.
   'That's ok, as long as you remember who you are, and don't lose track of that.' She knew that much, found solace in it, and kept it moving.

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