Posts Tagged ‘Inequality’

Inner City Bus Ride

September 14th, 2022

The thick dark plexiglass windows are riddled with scratches. The bus slows. The bus driver pulls a lever. The double doors swing open just as the bus stops.

A young woman near the front of the bus looks out the window, watching passengers board. An older lady with plenty of shopping bags tries to get a seat by the door. A younger man stands, allowing her to sit. A bright smile lights up her face. She thanks him while taking a seat.

The bus driver pulls the lever, closing the doors. The large diesel engine in the rear revs loudly as the bus slowly exits the bus stop, merging into the street.

The bus is packed. A lady standing in the aisle holds the upper railing, hovering over a youngish man who looks as if he’s her same age. She’s in her lower 30’s. Though, could pass for her mid to late 20’s. She probably lives an interesting life. Perhaps she’s on her way to live up the nightlife.

Her scents are soothing. Her style’s appealing. Her t-shirt lifts a couple inches above her lower belly, showing her ever so slightly chubby tummy, tightening over her decent sized, nicely shaped breasts, as she stretches to hold the railing above.

Her arms are soft. Her muscles are soft as well, smallish, elegantly shaped, showing every once in a while when she strengthens her grip as the bus turns.

Her hair is dark, very thick, wavy, almost curly, though, not quite, moist looking, as if she just got out of the shower, flowing a few inches past her shoulders in the back, surrounding her face in the front.

Her face is alluring, cuteish, somewhat pudgy, with a short round chin. Her nose is smallish. Her lips are pouty. Her eyes are a deep hazel, mesmerizing. She’s calm.

Her hip hugger low waist jeans are stylish, sexy, flowing beautifully downward from her waist, over her defined hips and thighs, her smallish, yet shapely calves, to her low top Adidas sneakers.

The man below her tried giving her a warm smile. A smile in return was denied. He probably knew better. He had to try.

The bus driver announces the name of the next stop over the loudspeaker.

The bus slows. The doors swing open. A woman boards the bus, acknowledging the bus driver as she boards, thinking to herself, “Bus drivers are with the people every day, they’re people’s people.” He’s pre occupied, chatting with a lady who’s sitting in the front seat.

A young man in his mid-20’s was next inline. After paying, he quickly scans the seats, thinking, “Maybe, just maybe, I’ll see a decent looking chick my age sitting by herself.”

No luck. Most seats are filled. Disappointed, he maneuvers to the back of the bus where he snags one of the few empty seats.

The bus driver briefly stops his conversation to speak the name of the next stop over the loudspeaker.

At the next stop, a middle aged lady boards. She works her way towards the back exit, using the upper railing to help keep her balance, carefully zigging in and out and around those standing in the aisle.

A few stops later, she reaches over a couple passengers to pull the wire, requesting a stop.

“Ding, ding.”

The bus driver slows the bus, guiding it to the side of the street into the bus stop. The back doors open. The lady exiting turns her head as she exits, looking towards the bus driver, smiling, thanking him for the ride, just before stepping down to the sidewalk.

She was on her way home from work. Her husband finished work a few hours earlier. He was waiting at the bus stop. The two kiss quickly before making their way home.

An older man and woman sit next to each other. The older man starts talking, in a way, talking to the woman next to him, in a way talking to himself, though, mostly just talking.

“I grew very old, very fast. I grew very slow. People shouldn’t disregard the length of life during their younger years. My body and health deteriorated.

The city was different when I was younger. A Baseball stadium use to occupy the land where the condo complex sits on the other side of the street. Locals were proud of the stadium, passionate, loyal fans of their team.

A small Baseball card shop was located a few blocks away. I use to ride my bike to the shop every Saturday when I got my allowance. I had a card for every player on the team. Every time I purchased a card, the owner gave me a bunch of commons for free. I had a shoebox filled with Baseball cards.

I was as proud of the city and stadium as anyone else. Riding my bike through the streets was one of my favorite past times. The streets were much different than, very narrow, traffic moved much slower, riding was much safer, much more enjoyable.

I use to have a lot of energy. I rode over the sidewalk, hopping curbs, cutting through alleys, cruising through parks. I rode everywhere I could possibly ride. I explored and saw as much as I could possible explore and see.

Much like myself, the stadium grew old, wasn’t maintained, deteriorated. Eventually, the stadium was demolished.

The Baseball card shop closed a few months later. Many other new, very large complexes were built. The condos within the complexes were mostly purchased by investors and foreigners.

Many of the investors weren’t local. The money they earned through rent from locals went to other destinations.

Foreigners mostly used their condos as vacation destinations, leaving many empty condos throughout the city during the offseason, only spending money within the city a few months a year while vacationing.

New jobs weren’t created. The poor, got poorer.

Many of the friends I kept weren’t wealthy. Most moved elsewhere. I lost a lot of friends.

I stayed, paying much more for rent, while earning the same wages. The quality of my life digressed.

Most of the complexes were gated, blocking the alleys previously in their place. Streets were widened.

Many of the places I frequented, closed. Many parks shrunk. The city I live in now is very different from the city I grew up in.”

A few minutes later the man stopped talking. The woman next to him smiled and frowned to herself, thinking about the words he spoke.

Soon thereafter, the bus slows. The driver announces the last stop. The doors fling open. The lady standing in the aisle, holding the upper railing, releases her grip from the railing, and from the man sitting below her, thanking the bus driver for the ride as she exits.

The other passengers exit as well, as does the bus driver, shutting down the diesel engine just before exiting, closing the doors behind him until the next route is scheduled.


Written by George Farina: