cosmophilia (questioncurl) wrote,

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On the bus today, the driver asked a woman to fold her stroller, so that other people could move through the aisles. She grumbled a bit, but folded it anyway. A couple of minutes later, she unfolded it and put her baby back in. The driver growled at her, and she said "I'm getting out."  So he pulled up to the stop and opened the doors and waited. The woman continued to slowly wipe off her son's hands with an antiseptic baby wipes. The light changed from green to red. Everybody who'd got on to the bus edged past the stroller and wedged themselves in wherever they could find place. The driver kept the doors wide open. People began shifting impatiently, and glancing at teh empty doors. The woman showed no sign of noticing, as concentratedly absorbed in her baby's hands as a cat. The light changed again to green.  Finally the driver said "Here's your stop!" The woman looked up, slowly, and said, with a faint smug smile, "Naw, mine's at Lake." There was a moment of dead silence, as we realised that this was evidently a contest, and the woman appeared to have just won. She turned back to her child, with the smug look still on her face, and someone in the back tittered unwisely. You could see the exact moment at which the driver decided that he wasn't going to give in.  He didn't say or do anything, just looked at the doors, still wide open. The light changed from green to red. Gradually all the conversations died down, and soon everybody's attention was concentrated on the state of the bus. Some people hadn't been following the little battle up in front, and they squinted up to see the traffic lights, saw that they were red, shook their heads, and turned back. Others, who had, stared at the driver, who looked stoically out of his window, and then at the woman, who was now rummaging unconcernedly in her purse.  The lights turned green.  Cars began roaring by, and now there was a definite air of impatience in the bus.  Another woman, also with children, though no strollers, asked loudly from the back. "what's up?" The driver shouted back that he was waiting for a passenger to get off the bus. People turned and glared at the woman, who said again, "Lake's my stop" with all the implacable air of someone stating a fact. The driver said he wasn't moving till the stroller was out of the bus. The woman gave a lazy shrug and said into her cellphone,  "I got aaaaallll day."  There was another moment of dead silence that burst in a babble of indignant yells and frustrated sighs: "Well, I don't!" "Hey!" "Come on!" "You're kidding!"  and half the bus began talking loudly in Spanish and English, explaining the situation all over again to each other.  We waited through another change of lights, but the driver was hunched down in his seat, clearly refusing to budge, while the woman was now announcing loudly that she was on the CTA's complaint line. Another bus pulled up to the stop and we began to reluctantly get off this bus, people slowly shuffling around the stroller, grumbling all the way, and climbing back  on to the other bus. When the lights changed to green again and we finally pulled out of the stop, the first bus was empty, except for the driver, still hunched in his seat; the woman, bolt upright, talking into her phone but clearly aiming her words at the driver; and the baby in his stroller, peacefully blowing spit bubbles.
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