On the Bus — 6/7/2006

I had a bunch on stuff in my head this morning on the bus but now there’s nothing. I had observations. I had some sentences running around in there. Now I don’t have anything. I have a vague recollection of events, but the feelings of the moment are gone. Once I was sitting in my standard government-gray office post-bus, going through the Inbox sent all those thoughts and words into the Deleted Items folder. Maybe if I listen to the same music I was listening to on the bus it will all come back to me. I love that amazing thing about music– a song can bring back emotions you were feeling from the last time you listened to it.
In general I want to write but I can’t get off the ground. I’m self-editing and self-criticizing even before I get anything written. I want to explore and pursue an idea I’ve titled “Project 52.” It’s a little nuts but it’s the idea of writing one short story per week and publishing here for an entire year. That would be awesome– quite a feat! But I think it may be more like Project 26, or even 13! At this rate, though, it’s looking like Project ZERO. I need to recall my list of stories and get cranking on them. At least get a head start on it. The plan is, make the announcement that I’m doing it and have the world hold me accountable. No announcement yet, let me find that list…
Back to the bus, it’s all coming back to me– As I sat down, got comfortable and spread open my Entertainment Weekly, I glanced down at the book the guy sitting next to me was reading. Doh!– The Sun Also Rises. Dude busts out the Hemingway and I’m flipping madly to find Brown’s Hit List. Don’t let’s start judging me yet Mr. Hemingway Reader (did you get that?)– I’m down with Ernesto, it’s just that I went through my Hemingway kick in the mid-nineties. Now, let me tell you about Entourage
As the we rolled on this morning there was a bit more chatter on the bus than usual, which made concentrating on my scholarly reading material difficult. Maybe it was a bad case of ADD as switching from reading to listening to podcasts was just as flighty. I ended up flipping through the iPod trying to find some good Bus Soundtrack music. I landed on some old Camper Van Beethoven (whatever happened to them?) and zoned as I watched the world go by out the window. CVB got old as we neared DC and since there was more chatter on the bus than usual, I needed something else to overpower the din. The thing is, on the commuter bus there’s an unwritten rule of ZIP IT Chatty McTalkypants! But for some reason that was ignored this morning. One of the passengers even chatted up the driver for a while, completely ignoring the, “Hey, don’t talk to the driver while she’s carrying sixty lives down the highway at scary bus-speeds!” sign. I like the silent rule. It’s a good thing– I can read, listen to the iPod at a reasonable volume, and get into The Zone. People get edgy when that silence is broken. The ring of a cell phone, or loud hiss of someone with their headphones too loud, brings angry stares of messed-up chi. Quiet is good. Quiet is safe.
There was an incident that happened a few weeks ago when someone decided that right now would be a good time to call their girlfriend and plead with her not to break up with him–right now being during the evening commute. The morning commute usually finds wide-awake people who are a little more tolerant of loud noises. They’ve had their coffee. They’re awake and alert. The evening however is time for library silence. People are tired and about half the bus sleeps. So screaming, “Kelsey, Kelsey, please!!! I’m sorry! Kelseyyyy!” mid-ride home is just not what a bus-passenger, particularly in this post-9/11-already-on-edge time, needs. Once I was able to swallow my heart and everyone got their pulse below 150, I was able to enjoy the rest of the ride as everyone fell back to monastic, though unnerved, silence.
Right, where was I? Ah, switching music. Crossing the bridge into DC called for a different soundtrack. A sunny day in DC and rolling on the bus called for some Earth, Wind, & Fire. That turned into the perfect life-soundtrack song for the moment. I “Bah-dee-yah’d” in my head with Philip Bailey and as the horns faded out I found myself at my stop. EW&F saved the commute.