Friday, May 10, 2019

Gray world

The weather app told us it was in the high 40s that Sunday morning, perhaps our coldest day of the year and downright freezing. The sort of temperature drop that makes you layer up to keep the shoulders loose.

My assigned bus was a ghost, nowhere to be found in the yard. Got a replacement and pulled out late. This new unit had no announcer, so I'd be calling out stops along the line today. Again, it was Sunday, that notoriously slow day of the week, so other than running late this first trip the day promised to be a breeze. As we rolled ever northward out of Central Terminal, the schedule deficit grew ever larger. At these times, it's tempting to push the machine just a little harder to keep things from getting out of control. Then the world reminds us how very little indeed is in our control, mostly just our response to the situation at hand.

We'd serviced the Via Mizner stop past Camino Real in Boca Raton and approached the Mizner Boulevard curve which would lead us back south. Before we could close the gap between the turn lane and the other lanes continuing straight, dozens of motorcycle roared by, steel thunder to shake the sleepy dew off the overspread poincianas lining the idyllic side street. My response was to yield and let the tempest pass through. When the undeniably impressive mass had cleared, we could then cruise in peace. Around the curve, I slowed again for a lone biker. This one was on the leg-powered type. He was in the bike lane, technically going the wrong direction as he pedaled toward us. He only had one leg, so this may have been his way of keeping a wary eye on nearby vehicles.

My friend with the frozen hand boarded after the loop. He camps out at night and his single thin sheet had been useless in last night's chill. He was going to the thrift store to get a second sheet, since it would be easier to carry than a heavy blanket.

The ever-cheery Weatherman stood by the curb down at Sample. Of course I had to ask about the forecast - and await the clever response.
"It's Mexican weather: Chili today, hot tamale!"

Down a bit further, a familiar bleary face was waiting, already drunk. Originally from upstate New York, she'd been in Florida thirty years and she wore no socks inside those flip flops. She was cold.

The first round trip in the books, it was now late morning and we were settled in to our groove. We may have been a few minutes down, but that's preferable to a few minutes hot. Unless you're a time traveler, then the clock is irrelevant.
"Is today Sunday or Monday?" The older man with white goatee asked with sincerity.
When he discovered it was Sunday, he changed his plans and didn't care to go any further. Time may be irrelevant, but apparently the day of the week is important.

Back in Boca again, a woman near the front was talking to herself in a Jamaican patois. Her body odor was talking to the rest of us. She finally addressed someone outside her own head, asking about Pompano and then verbally upset to learn we'd already been there. Her anger was directed at me and unidentified people bothering her.
"It's not a black world. It's not a white world," she proclaimed. In an effort to calm her, I reminded her we'd be turning and go back south. We got to Atlantic and her vinegar had miraculously turned to honey. She called me Sweetie a couple times as she exited. A simple word like sunshine on a cold day. Just enough to keep the shoulders loose.

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