Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Snooze on Sus

It was a mild afternoon here in Washington DC as I stepped on to my usual bus for the commute home. I walked past the rows of passengers inexplicably glaring at me (for some reason, the going-home bunch is a hostile one) and selected my usual seat. Left side, window. Usually, as we roll along and pick up more passengers, I try to hold my seat monopoly as long as possible. I put on an angry face, shuffle my elbows and hips around (to suggest to passers-by: if you sit here, you will be bumped and nudged the whole way to Georgetown) and generally try to look as though I smell bad. However, there are always worse options in nearby seats (ginormous women with acres of thigh fat, scabby-heads, and the like) so I can't ever ward off a seat partner for long. Yesterday it was a darling little mini-man. One of those old guys that so wrinkled up he looks like those peppers you put on your windowsill to dry: devoid of fluids and half the original size. Only not red. He doesn't take up much room, my dehydrated gramps, so I don't mind. He sits down and begins reading his newspaper as merrily we roll along. Nearly twenty minutes down the road, I begin to notice two things.
One: this bus ride seems to be abnormally long.
Two: there is a growing pressure in the general vicinity of my shoulder.

I glance down to my right, and notice straight off grampy's limp fingers are letting slip the newspaper he had been reading. Pressure on shoulder increases. Good lord. Is he--no, surely--oh my. Grampy's little head--the top of which is just level with my shoulder--has found peaceful slumber on my upper arm. Chasing away the fleeting morbidities, "What if he's DEAD?", I begin to calculate the proper course of action. Can't just shuck him off, these old people sleep hard and we don't want him just falling into the aisle. Should I start clearing my throat loudly? That would just attract unwanted attention from the other bus patrons who would then start nudging their friends and nodding in my unfortunate direction. Should I just be happy he's not snoring? As gramps snuggles ever closer, fate--in the form of crack-addled DC drivers--intervenes. Some obstacle or other leaps in front of our trusty bus, and the driver pounds the squealing brakes, causing gramps' head to woosh off my shoulder and nearly smack into the hard plastic head-rest of the seat in front of us. Luckily his mucle control kicks in before catastrophic brain injury occurs, and best of all, he's been rattled back to consciousness. We're near my stop anyway, so checking my shoulder for drool stains, I relieve myself of human pillow duties and get off the bus.


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