Friday, September 26, 2008

the city

there are a lot of things that i'm going to (probably viscerally) miss as i go on the road over the next couple months, normalcy being a big one, but the busride brought some of the little things into focus.

the busdriver was this awesome, awesome man with a super deep voice who is great at driving the bus and at being friendly. he's older, probably in his fifties, and seemingly knows everybody. i always recognize him and say hello (i am very friendly with busdrivers. they make me happy, in general), and so my morning started off right. it was also jacket weather. he picked us up at lamont street, and drove very prudently, which i appreciate. jobs well done are jobs well done. i decided not to crack open breakfast of champions, which i'm re-reading, because i didn't feel like it and because it's sort of a bad book to read on the bus due to vonnegut's hilarious and sometimes dirty illustrations. so i was looking around, listening to the busdriver's conversation, noticing other folks. my bus is great because it's always got a slightly different mix of people. one guy looked to be iraqi (which is a guess), in his fifties, well kept moustache, blue dress shirt, dark blue slacks. he was wearing sandles (this type). there are always hispanic ladies, but no kids today.

two things happened that are worth noting. first, we always drive by the planned parenthood on 16th and L, and i tend to look out and see if anybody's protesting under normal circumstances. today, we stopped at the light at L and everybody noticed there were tons of people outside (60+, this is not a big front lawn), and i think several others assumed they were protesting. but then we realized that they were primarily kids, from age 8 to 18 or so, and they were all wearing similar shirts... my next thought was that it was a church group, but what sort of church group takes friday off to come protest planned parenthood with 8 year olds?! then, and these thoughts were going through my head in real time at the same rate they were going through other people's heads-- there's a school right next to PP, on the corner, and from a certain angle you could see a flashing strobe light. fire drill! i think, actually, that the kids were blocking the sightlines of two or three white college-aged protesters who were kneeling and praying at the building. sucks to your ass-mar, anti-choice zealots!

the second was a little bit of jesus wisdom from my bus driver. often along 16th street there are multiple S2 and S4 buses running at the same time, and sometimes they'll pass one another. a rather imprudent driver came up and kept trying to pass our bus, and finally at around U street he/she did so. our busdriver was talking to one of the passengers up front, i think, or he might have just said this offhand and out loud: "Don't you worry, the first shall be last and the last shall be first" in his baritone voice, and kind of chuckled. If i ever run for office, that's going to be my made-up-Found-Jesus moment, because i immediately grinned and just thought, YES. that's the most enlightened view of busdriving, and life, i've heard in quite some time.

they're closing down the homeless shelter right next to my work today, and hauling out the beds, and there are police all around. it was scheduled to happen next wednesday but they secretly moved it up so as to avoid protests. there's no alternative site they're setting up-- it's basically Fenty saying, good luck in the outlying parts of the city, we want you out of downtown so we can build a hotel. it's total bullshit. i think fenty could use a little busdriver advice: don't you worry, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. i'm going to miss this fantastic, fucked up city, and i already can't wait to return.

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