There’s just one bus an hour from Sudden Valley to downtown Bellingham. It’s due at five past the hour. It takes about ten minutes to walk to the bus stop from the house. But with all the snow and ice on the ground, I gave myself twenty minutes to get there, allowing for the increased journey time, and for the chance that the bus might be a couple of minutes early. It wasn’t. It was twenty-four minutes late.
Twenty-four minutes to imagine how good a couple of the songs on (on or off? Always confuses me, that one) the new Kanye West LP would sound as the soundtrack to Crockett speeding around Miami in his Ferrari at night, his mind full of regrets regarding his failed marriage, and how, if he could only get over that, then things with Gina might be a little better.
Twenty-four minutes to imagine that the sign next to the bus stop for Bob’s Burgers and Brews could be the sign for a business that I could open, (Bob, among a small group of friends, is my nickname. It’s not rocket surgery: Robinson > Robbo > Bob). There’d be nice big wooden tables, a rockin’ jukebox, and a big log fire. No TVs. Unless it’s baseball season.
I wondered if “The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver” by Elbow isn’t the best song of the year, what else could it be? I wondered whether standing still to conserve energy or moving around to keep warm would be the best thing to do if I was stuck in the cold overnight. I wondered how long it would take my shuffling feet to turn the fluffy snow into ice, and if the woman stood near me at the bus stop was thinking that I looked weird shuffling around in time to the Electric Light Orchestra song I was listening to; not that she knew what I was listening to.
I wondered if my new tuque/beanie/knit hat/whatever-you-want-to-call-it makes me look like a rapist. I wondered if I could do a Photoshop drawing of the shops across the street in this dusky light. I wondered why I didn’t risk it, eight minutes before the bus was due, and go and get a coffee from the one of those stores; that would help keep me warm. I wondered if the woman would give me a dirty look for throwing my cigarette butt on the pavement.
Wonder, wonder, wonder. Lots of wondering. I wondered if the bus had been involved in an accident on the way, and me wondering why it was so bloody late might, in retrospect, seem a tad selfish. I wondered if that FedEx truck in the distance might be the bus… I wondered exactly what it is in our brains that makes us think such things even though we know we’re clutching at straws. Why “clutching at straws”? Where does that come from? Wondering, if push comes to shove, if and me and the woman were starving to death: could I kill and eat her? (Assuming that this was halfway up a mountain, not with some shops across the street where I could easily go and buy some Cheetos and beef jerky.) Wondering if push comes to shove would I even kill her for cigarettes if she had some and I didn’t. I hope not, but nicotine is a funny beast. Wondering if those blue-ish lights I can see through the trees in the distance are the lights from the inside of the bus. Yes they are! I’m gonna be a few minutes late, but that bus will be nice and warm inside, and, oooh, “Hold On Tight” (the E.L.O. song); this is a great tune. I bought the 7″ single for my sister on her ninth birthday. Well, I assume my Mum or Dad actually paid for it, but it’s the thought that counts.
The above was typed into my iPod Touch when I finally got on the bus. Once I’d sat down, I took it upon myself to try and remember as much as possible about my time stood waiting for the bus. Aside from correcting a few typos, the above is as typed on the bus. Ultimately, the journey was a waste of time, though, because the bowling alley was fully booked; it was league night, darn it.