Wednesday, October 01, 2003

So, yeah, I'm riding the 74 to home and we(busdriverotherpassengers&me)'re sitting at the corner of Sand Point and 55th and this guido crewcut scowl in a pair of Gargoyles goes accelerating by in a maybe decade-old 911 and just when I'm laughing at him for being a penis for trying to look toughguy and everything this brand-brand-new 325i comes whipping around from the left, downshifting and pumping the revs to sprint past my chariot of the poor, and that one's scowling too and I'm wondering just why the fuck we all (guys, boys, men) hafta make all these fucking faces when we're driving fast and trying to look tough and I'm trying to convince myself that when I was a real driver, back in the day, and I took a corner hard & fast & lean I was smiling like a motherfucker, grinning from ear to goddamned ear, loving the feel of my head going one way and my ass going another way and the nose of my machine was pointed true straight, hammer down and gone.

I dunno if that's the truth, but I'm trying to believe it. Others would probably disagree.

Here's the problem: Bus-riding is essentially contemplative. Beyond the stress of figuring out whether or not I've got the right change to pay the till or finding an empty seat during rush hour, there's not a lot of conflict involved. You seat in your seat, you read your book, listen to your headphones, you lurch as the bus accelerates and decelerates, you look out the window and check out the kids on the Ave. or the shops or people on bikes. You sit and try to find something to do with your hands, mainly.

Driving, conversely, is almost entirely dynamic. Especially the sort of driving I've done in my past (this is the sort of thing that pretty much all my friends will attest to, and say nasty things about; right, guys?). And as I'm sitting on the bus today, thinking about those days (especially those days of messengering, which those of you who've read the archives will recall, I'm sure), I'm realizing that some essential energy left me when I gave up my car (and the deadly passionate energy of the East Coast) and relegated myself to public transport, pedal power and shank's mare. I've gained more than I've lost, and I finally find myself in a position to take care of someone as much as someone is taking care of me, but the Tristate testosterone daydream boy inside of me is still itching for a revving engine to control, congested roads to fight and the mad screaming fight-or-flight cry of the mob surrounding me. In this gentle place, I'm looking for a brawl and I'm not finding it.

Which isn't bad, but it struck me as funny on the way home today.

Oh, yeah. Everybody says "Thank you" to the bus driver when they disembark. Even the people who get off in the back. It's very sweet.

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