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The Indefinite Article.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Way Home

The bus has its own sounds. The creaks and hums and hisses of shifting metal, rubber and bodies are unique to that space �?? that seemingly stagnant time. I am swallowed up the second i step onto the rubber floor (the beeping as the bus drops to allow the old mexican lady behind me easy entrace follows the rhythm of the hydrolic hisses); the engine resonates, the traffic outside becomes nothing more than a hum. I always sit up front in the seats that should be vacated for wheelchairs; wheelchair riders are rare, but i have seen them. Mostly on Montrose, but i remember one downtown not too long ago.

He was an older gentleman, remarkably self-reliant for a guy in a wheelchair. He strapped himself in. The bus driver only had to raise the seat. He left the bus as effortlessly as i might have in front of some assisted living apartments off of Memorial Dr.

A soft bell rings. I never see anyone pull the insulated cord. My eyes are closed. The sweat slowly evaporates off my body. the bus begins to slow down. I shift my body weight forward to keep from being flung off my seat. The bus comes for a jerky stop. From behind my eyelids i can see shadows moving across the bright blood in my eyes. Three people get off. This particular bus idles hard. My legs are shaking shoftly. I am almost asleep.

The bus jerks forward again.. The blood in my eyes is too bright. Summer has arrived. The air condition blows like a long sigh. If i were to open my eyes i would notice the sweaty foreheads and the wet matted hair. The sweat under my shirt has become a cold, itchy layer of salt.

The 50 Heights route snakes through downtown and eventually hobbles up memorial and swings around to washington ave. Today, we stop at nearly every stop, even the obscure stop next to the bread surplus store.

It is 6:05 when i step off the rubber floors of the bus and onto the hot concrete outside. I start to sweat almost immediately. I cross the street staring into the hot reflections of the sun on the windshields of oncoming traffic and think of the brown pelicans that dive bomb into the sheen of hot concrete. I hear that this happens in Arizona.

The further i walk from 43rd, the more muffled the traffic becomes, until it's just a hum behind the sharp shrill of cicadas. I can feel my sweat dripping in between the hairs on my chest. I walk on the east side of the Costa Rica to avoid the sun.

A giant live oak hangs over nearly the entire street right after Libbey. As i walk under it I catch a glimpse of a cicada on one of its low branches. I walk home in as much shade as i can manage to place myself under. I walk in straight lines from one patch of shade to another.

the majority of my yard is shaded, so i decide as i walk up that now is the perfect time for me to cut the grass. I kiss my wife and son, change into shorts and head straight to the shed. The inside of the shed has the wonderful odor of yard work: mud, old cut grass, gasoline, fertilizer, mulch, ant poison, old wood.

I walk the mower through the backyard and am struck by how remarkably quiet it is in my neighborhood. Lovely.


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