Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Late

While I was awake at my normal 5:30 am this morning, by the time I left the house, I felt I was running late, given that I had to go back inside the house three times to collect all the various items I feel that I need to accomplish the day.  Oh no, I can't forget my phone.  No.  Oh no, I can't forget that letter I have to mail.  No.  Oh no, I absolutely cannot forget my bus pass, or I shall have to pay my way to and from work.


Oh no.


So by the time I actually managed to lock my door, and head out across the slush, I knew that I would miss my connection, and, therefore, be 15 minutes late.


Oh no.


So I made my way as quickly as I could in my dress shoes (it was an important meeting day, after all) across slushy sidewalks, and strove not to slip.  The snow that fell last night seemed to be testing my mettle, and by the time I reached the intersection at the bottom of the hill, I was 4 minutes behind schedule.


Oh no.


Now 4 minutes may not seem like much, but when you are a committed pedestrian and mass transit user, 4 minutes translates into being much later than is appropriate.


As I stepped into the crosswalk, however, a black and white police car sped past, and turned west.  I stopped to watch him, and the approaching SUVs on my side of the road.  None of the drivers of the three SUVs seemed to notice me, a six foot three inch man in an unmissable big black coat, however, so I had to stand there as they passed.


I thought of how in the past I used to shout at such miscreants.  Once a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, you see, motor vehicles are required to stop. 


Not these drivers.  Oh no. Perhaps they were late too.


Oh no.


These days I just shake my head in disgust at them, particularly the ones who make the guilty "oops" face at me.  If you can make that face, you can stop, friend.


So they passed, and I crossed the road and made it to my bus stop with a minute to spare.  


And I waited.


And waited.


I've never been a complainer about the bus being late as some bus riders are wont to be.  I figure there must be a pretty damn unfortunate reason for that lateness, and my bitching about it isn't going to do any good, but raise my blood pressure or foment misplaced anger in fellow passengers. 


So, oh well.  


By the time the slacker high school teens in their usual inappropriate garb of shorts and tee shirts came out to stand at the stop with me, I knew that my lateness was a foregone conclusion.


Oh well.


The bus came, as buses always do, and I boarded and commenced my usual morning reading.


All was normal until we approached the Catholic Church on the route, and then all on the bus craned to look at the collection of a dozen or so police cruisers blocking the street.  The driver turned the corner and took an odd route.  Half-way down the block of the normal route, a white tarp covered a body.


I learned later that a man was struck down in the street by a light blue SUV.  The driver of the SUV fled the scene.


Now as I sit and think of the man whose life was ended because he dropped his back pack, I write the following:


You in your steel tombs
We, the living, plead that you
Wake from your slumber.

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