Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Not Your Average Commuter
He was clearly not your average commuter. He got on the bus, lurched to a seat, crammed his backpack in the overhead compartment and fumbled for his ticket, all the time announcing to his fellow passengers, "I had no idea it was so crowded! I've never ridden the bus at rush hour before and I never will again!" You could see the thought balloon over the heads of the rest of the commuters. It read, "Look, I've had a long day and all I want to do is ride the bus home in peace." We all looked elsewhere. He finally found his ticket, passed it forward to the bus driver via the other passengers, as if he was a hot dog vendor at a ball game. Then he planted himself in the seat in front of me. The bus started off and he more or less settled down, although he giggled and bounced in his seat, clearly pleased about something. When we got off at the exit, he turned around and held up a slip of paper. "I need a cab from Rossmoor. I don't have a phone. Could you call?" Why not. I punched the number and handed him the phone. Now I was his friend. "I bought three vintage Macintosh amps in Manhattan", he said. "A guy was advertising them, and I got three of them for the price that one goes for". He told me about how well made these amps were, and how he looked forward to hearing his jazz albums on them. I don't know anything about sound systems, but I know joy and passion when I hear it. We got off the bus together and the driver opened the luggage bay for the not-average commuter. "Wait", he said to me, "As long as you're getting off here, I want to show them to you." He pulled a hand truck covered with a blanket out of the luggage bay and turned back the blanket to show me what looked to me like any piece of audio equipment, but to him was precious. The bus pulled away and his cab pulled up. "Good night", I said, "Maybe I'll see you around". Actually, I wouldn't mind if I do.