Sunday, September 21, 2008

Waiting for the Bus

16 Sep 2008

At the beginning of a trip after doing all the things that need to be done at home, I feel keyed up and unnatually alert. That's why waiting for the bus to the airport this morning was a bit of an adventure.

First of all, I was surprised to see that the taxi that picked us up at home was a brand-new Prius hybrid, painted bright orange. The Yellow Cab company seems to have shifted one step on the color wheel.

When we arrived at our town's Transportation Hub, the new name for the bus stop and train station, we were accosted by a little woman with a red roller bag. I thought she was also headed for the airport. She asked us in a very friendly way where we were going. Then she pitched her appeal for money supposedly to support a non-profit organization that publishes photos of missing children. I told her I didn't give money to charities I knew nothing about. She persisted, telling me what a good cause it was, how she'd been kidnapped and raped as a child and how worthwhile this work was --- for the children.

I responded respectfully. But she wasn't about to give up. I replied that maybe she was more suited to another kind of work. She said Women didn't get any respect. I proposed that she try to figure out why people did not make contributions when she asked. She said it hurt her feelings when people didn't respond to her appeal, how everyone else who worked for the group gots lots of contributions (not donations, she informed me) and she didn't understand why she didn't. Older people like her didn't get any respect.

She finally simmered down when I asked if her organization had a website. She gave me a brochure with the URL and wrote her name and ID number on it so if I made a contribution (not a donation) later, she'd get credit.

While this was going on, a police car pulled up behind us. I could hear a big dog bark, and when I turned around to look at the patrol car, it was marked K-9 Unit. The officer was checking out a sleeper on the bench behind us. He woke the guy up, looked at his ID and asked some questions: Where did he live, where did he sleep, where was he going? There have been three day-time muggings in our town this week. Maybe the police are stepping up surveilance of suspicious people. Apparently this guy seemed OK, and the policeman told him he couldn't sleep there and directed him to move on.

Another waiting passenger asked if we were waiting for the airport bus. When I replied affirmatively, he said we'd just missed it. I countered that we were actually early for the next bus, which was true.

Once our bus arrived, we had an uneventful journey to the airport, in company with a Chinese couple about our age. They were headed for Hong Kong, we were headed for England, and when we got off the bus at the International Airport, we went our separate ways.


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