Wednesday, December 21, 2005

grace under pressure

It snowed like crazy here a few days ago, and as a result I met some people.

The first one was this lady from my neighbourhood who waited at the bus stop with me for 40 minutes. Everything was running late.

She told me she hates the bus and was only taking it because she couldn't get out of her own driveway in her car. She told me that she never recycles, she hates it. She said she likes when everyone is horrified by her non-friendly attitude toward the environment. She complained the whole time, and kept fixing her hair, compulsively, but I thought she was pretty funny, even though her attitude was pretty depressing.

When our bus arrived it was a really old one, circa 1978. It reminded me of taking the bus to junior high. Rose-coloured vinyl seats, ceilings in a white melmac with little golden stars, everything round, reeking of stale diesel.

We passed about five or six abandoned articulated buses, part of the traffic chaos of the morning. Apparently they have a motor in the middle and one at the back, and if one pushes more than the other at the wrong time, (which happens all the time when things are slippery, which they were), then they jackknife, and get stuck.

There was a couple at the back of the bus where I was sitting. He was tall and sort of handsome, but very rough, and missing teeth. He was sitting with a pudgy homely woman with glasses and black hair streaked with grey, and they were holding hands tightly, fingers interlocked. He was the one who explained about the articulated buses. He said he used to do repair work on the buses in this city.

But before that, he did his Masters in Music. When I asked him what instrument, he said "all of them", and informed me that he was, in particular, an incredible drummer. He said he was once in a drumming workshop with Phil Collins and "that guy from Rush" (Neil Peart), and he kicked both their asses. Neil would play a piece, and then everyone in the workshop had to copy what he did, and it was timed, and they were rated on accuracy and speed. But the bus guy, he said "I did everything that guy from Rush did, and then added my own stuff, and still came in under time, and they all wanted to know how I did that. And Neil said 'You could be the best drummer in the world' and I said 'Thanks'."

His girlfriend piped up, "My mother sings in a choir. I still have my recorder from grade 4."

Then we got to my stop, so I said thanks for the stories, and got off.


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