Another Shot Fired
INGREDIENTS: 957 IMPORTED WORDS. SERVE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.
I like riding the bus. My first year of school, I had to walk a half-mile. My second year I did the same. The third year of that experiment, a bus began stopping in front of our place, so I hopped on, took a seat and rode to school on it.
I do have mixed feelings about those years. But later in my life, and as an inexperienced teenager, I climbed steps that took me aboard a different sort of bus. This one guaranteed adventure. It provided odors not to be found anywhere in my normal world. It put out unusual and heart-racing sounds. Strange activities often occurred. Distractions aplenty happened. Odd food. Intrigue. Fun. This bus came only in grey and not yellow. Grey was the color of a running hound shown on the side of this particular bus.
The passengers (all human, but there, similarities end) who rode along came in many sizes. Several colors. Differing destinations. Each one worthy of examinations, however brief. Some would return my curious glances with scowls. Most acted as if they never noticed me (my parents had taught their children that it was impolite to stare, but who listens to parents much anymore?). A few of these travelers might smile back, I discovered. I had learned, only after a few awkward and unpleasant trips on one of these new machines, to eyeball the crew while walking the aisle: connect with a smiling face before sitting beside one and the ride invariably goes nicely. Nice memories.
I presently have a bad case of summertime flew. It began on Memorial day of 2006. Almost 700,000 good lives lost since the times of the American Revolution, all so that my local friends and I could gather outside on my deck to gossip in peace. No one mentioned the ghosts that others entertain until I brought them up. Not surprisingly, that. I served a few tours honorably; none of my propinquity did. Remembrance was not my main worry that day, though. My summer had begun to fly.
She officially had her wings and she beats them rapidly.
I was content to sit back and note: this gathering, this habitual lighting of charcoal, this pulling chairs into a small circle and retelling every tired story we can dredge up from our internal depths, jarred loose by other accounts of tired stories from other depths, is what we do. We. Us. You. Me. The pygmies. The Incas. Probably the Canadians as well, but who really knows what goes on up there? It’s dark, cold and some speak French, I hear.
But stories. We can all tell them.
Then a sobering thought did occur.
I admit that I purposefully waste a lot of my time. I do not go around confessing normally. This concept is unpopular all throughout the fields and swamps I frequent, but it is true that I do. However.
I leaned back to relax in my favorite canvas deck chair, listening as my brother-in-law Doug Jennings told stories about Hitler I had never heard before. And then suddenly, a thought dawned on me. It hit me during a sip of the tart beer-and-lime beverage which likes me so much: that my entire afternoon and evening was now progressing exactly like another favorite of my time-wasters, and that is, computer chat rooms.
I am not real sure if that is the proper term or not. Having typed that, I continue on obliviously.
The only difference I could see was that these talking heads gathered on the deck in front of me had human faces on display. Faces that could be read, to a certain degree. Each had a pair of expressive eyes. Animated mouths, one each. Some of the young ones wore facial paint. Small amounts of jewelry flashed about. Heads which nodded or shook did so properly. All very life-like too. I then rose to go find another cold drink. I found myself chuckling during the entire quest.
I don’t know much. But I do know how people throw stones. There was a saying about folk living in glass houses I heard when very young. Try telling that one to a child to get his mind worked up.
Now, I went to church as a small boy, like most good people. Often, well, sometimes, usually between whispering to or pulling at one of my other siblings, or maybe as I raised up my head for a moment while drawing crude pictures in the margins of my bulletin, I might hear the pastor go on about “those irate Catholics down the street”, or “those confounded Methodist up that way”, or some other faulty denomination that got under his skin during the previous week. It sort of gave me the impression, from the timbre of his voice and his theatrical arm-waving, that he understood what he was talking about. He was much larger than me in size, so I considered myself lucky to find pencils in the pews. You can only aggravate a younger sister for so long before people notice.
Doug made some swell points on Stalin as I sat back down and popped the cap off the cold one. Then someone pointed and laughed at the phrase printed across my shirt. That surprised me. Monday made the second day I had worn the thing, and they just now see?
“I am blogging this”, it reads.
Not much to blog about, I thought as I smiled and jammed another lime inside the mouth of the beer. Just that one small comparison.
Oh, and that riding busses is a lot like traveling through life, or relaxing at a computer keyboard, typing nonsensical things to other chat mates. Enjoy your day. Try not to fall or hurt anyone. And clean up that mess there!