I had to visit the terrible, throbbing metropolis today. Wait, I had meant for that to sound less dirty and more dreadful. Regardless, I was there, caught in the weekend scurry of people, and long lines of honking, angry cars moving around the construction. Luckily it was a way point for me, merely a brief stop between my home and my Dad’s house.
The extensive excavation of one of the main roads meant that the bus dropped me further from my connecting bus stop than usual. I hurried down the streets, eager to be rid of the city, the feeling I had was awful but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was.
As I crossed the road, a car turned right in front of me, despite my having the right of way. I got up close to the car, making it look like I was going to bang on the window but intending to stop just shy of the glass. Inside the car, the rude occupant gave me a one finger salute. This enraged me and the vengeful part of my brain cried out “Key the car!” But the vehicle was too fast and the normal part of my brain that doesn’t live in the metropolis took over and soothed me “Leave the car Unwashed”. So I kept walking, faster now, riding on the anger of that interaction, breaking into a run upon seeing my bus stop in the distance. As I ran, I was able to pinpoint the feeling – contempt. “Metropolis I despise you!” I screamed, my feet pounding the pavement and I became just another crazy in a too big city.
At the end of the platform I saw the early bus, the one I thought I hadn’t a hope in hell of catching, waiting there. I put on more speed, my years of long distance running propelling me forward faster and faster. I arrived at the bus with just a minute to spare.
“Do you go to the downtown of the nameless sprawling suburb*?” I asked the driver breathlessly.
“No” he replied curtly, “You want the next bus.”
I remembered from the schedule that there were three buses each going to a different place near my father’s house. “Do you go to the giant, expanding mall with lots of glass and too many people**?”
“No” he answered even more brusquely this time. “You want the next bus.”
“Wait!” I cried as he went to close the doors. “There’s one minute left until you have to leave. Do you go anywhere near the nameless sprawling suburb?”
“Yes I go to the intersection of the highways” the exasperated driver said flatly.
“Amazeballs” I exclaimed, “I’ll take it, hold on, I just have to arrange for someone to pick me up.” I quickly dialed Sula’s number who is my closest girlfriend and the reason for my visit this weekend. She didn’t pick up. The clock ticked over to 3:50 PM, it was now time for the bus to leave. “She didn’t pick up” I shouted to the driver from the bottom of the steps, “I’m going to call my Dad”
Luckily my father picked up on the second ring. “Dad can you come pick me up at” I gave the intersection but then realized I was missing the time, climbing two steps up into the bus I quickly asked the driver “At what time?”
The bus driver had now given up any hope of getting rid of me and consulted his sheet. “16:22 ma’am” he said.
I relayed this to my Dad and promptly hung up, climbing all the way up the steps into the bus. “How much is the fare?” I asked brightly. “You don’t even have a ticket?” the driver asked incredulously.
“Nope, but I’ve got change.” After all of this the man didn’t believe me and waited until I had counted every single red cent out before he began to drive. It was one of those rare times that I was thankful for the fact that I look and sound about twelve, I doubt he would have been as patient had he known that I will turn thirty next month.
*At one point my Dad’s city was a sleeper suburb, then it decided to go along with the worldly trend of putting on girth at a rapid rate. It’s now the tenth least lovable city in Canada, unlovable places with few walking path don’t deserve names.
**Once upon a time when I thought mesh shirts were trendy, I worked at this mall. Then like this city it grew to be cavernous and confusing and now I treat it like a cross between Ebola and Lord Voldemort; I’ll visit if necessary but only with proper protective equipment and I never speak it’s name.