Another grey, rainy, cold day. People are beginning to look bleak. But New Yorkers of course persevere, and my son and I stood waiting at the bus stop for the public bus this morning. A school bus had picked up some children and was idling on the curb beside us, perhaps ahead of schedule. I hadn't paid it much mind (though I had wondered how our bus was going to pull in...), when it started to slowly pull away and a man walked up to it and tapped on its door. He barked, "driver!" to get the driver's attention and then gestured for the driver to stop.
He was not a very appealing man. He was sane and harmless, someone who makes it to work and pays taxes and makes the world what it is. He was fine. But he was not someone I would be naturally drawn to in a room of many. His black pants were pulled up efficiently. His white shirt tucked in, and brief case well worn---everything about him suggested nothing warm, colorful or witty. His hair was thin, neatly cut; his lips were thin and spiteful. He had a boil by his ear that was not disgusting but did confirm my assumptions about him. There was something furious in his neat appearance. There was no pleasure in his house. He did not dwell in generosity, and here, in middle-age, it was beginning to show. He probably lectured his wife on money. He was often annoyed with people.
He stepped away from the school bus door and walked along the bus to the fourth or fifth window. When he rapped on it---with one finger, hard----the four boys sitting in the bus pulled back as if hit by a sudden wind. He rapped again and mouthed something to one of the boys.
Had the boy forgotten his lunch? The man was determined to get a message across, he mouthed some words again. I wondered if he had come to finish an argument that had started earlier that morning. Perhaps the man had returned to the bus to have the final word with his son. He mouthed some words again, but his mouth moved too fast for anyone to understand. He was keeping the children waiting, I thought, and the traffic behind the bus, and all the parents and children down the avenue too. One selfish act has repercussions---did he get that?----slightly disrupting the morning schedule of many.
Abandoning his attempts to communicate, finally the man pointed to his eye. He mouthed, "I!". He pointed to his heart, "Love!". He pointed to the boy who was sitting in the dark bus, "You!" He lifted up his hand to signal his departure, picked up his brief case and turned to walk down Second Ave. to work.