3 days ago
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I hadn't planned on posting anything tonight. A bit short on World Enough and Time. Busy as a bee. The bustling hive. Private Vice, Publick Benefits, and all that.
But that was until I took my bus ride home from the quotidian tedium of work. I've never liked the bus. I always preferred to stay away from the madding crowd, the sweaty press of indentured humanity. But during the Interruptum it was deemed verboten for me to drive, and I reluctantly retired the alabaster 94 Cavalier. It didn't owe me any money -- it had got me to Vancouver and back, 9 years between. Like a motorized Leonard Zelig, it pops up in photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, the vertiginous Streets of San Francisco, at the foot of the Space Needle, on Telegraph Rd in Berkeley, along the white beaches of Oregon, and adorning a couple of moving violations forwarded via Vancouver's finest. What wasn't captured on film was it getting lost in Oakland at 1 in the morning, negotiating the boyz in the hood huddling over their burning trash cans (uh, excuse me gentlemen, can you tell us how to get to Palo Alto?) Could that thing be any whiter? Could its driver? Also not captured was the scene of its driver turning down the "orgy option" at the airport hotel while its driver's girlfriend sat in its passenger seat.
I even got $500 for the white wonder. Christened the Idler, it enjoyed the honour of being the official vehicle of the Ramblers, the Johnsonian men's club/secret society that is alleged to have originated in the late 1990s. The Blue Book value for a 94 Cavalier with that kind of mileage is, I reckon, about $50, but the buyer knew what he was getting. A ride right out of history, fabulous and fabulist.
But back to the bus. Shortly before my downtown exit, the bus stops. Something briefly boarded, then, mercifully, disembarked. It appeared to be wearing a uniform of some sort. I still don't know what I saw. Let's just say it was sublime, in the aesthetic, eighteenth-century sense of the term. I was in awe, and also very afraid. Initially, it was ... interesting. Long mane of impossibly blonde hair, the peroxide preening in the preternatural light of the setting son. Irrationally enormous breasts, if indeed it is possible to Reason about such things.
But then she walked by my window seat, presumably on to her next important bus business. I'm still not sure what I saw. He? She? A Transit Transvestite? The skin on her face was pulled so tight she looked like a Mannerist painting. An Arcimboldo grotesque. Imagine a hybrid of Pamela Anderson crossed with Joan Rivers, and that's what I saw. I swear.
This anthropological encounter might qualify as my counterfactual of the week. He/she was a walking counterfactual. What if ... that happened. To somebody. On purpose.