Tag Archives: commute

The Hungry Commuter

On a very hungry day of the week, my friend CM was driving home from work on the northbound freeway between Goleta and Buellton when she was passed by a California Highway Patrol car at the precise moment she happened to be biting into a burger.
He pulled into the lane behind her and switched on his siren lights.
She safely stored the burger in front of the speedometer until she found a decent spot to pull over.
The officer stepped up to her window and asked, “Ma’am, do you know how fast you were going?”
CM glanced under her dashboard.
“Well, no… I couldn’t tell because the burger was covering the numbers…”
The officer told her he was going to have to write her a ticket and went back to his car.
Just then a strong ocean breeze came upon them and swept one of her food wrappers out the window.
She watched in despair through the rear view mirror as the wrapper stopped every few seconds only to then roll away some more.
Not only was she facing a speeding fine, but now, if the officer saw the wrapper, she would also be facing something like a $400 littering fine.
The implications were overwhelming.
Should she risk endangering her life by stepping out of her car next to the busy freeway traffic just to pick up a silly wrapper?
Would the officer think she was going to attack him?
Should she pretend nothing had happened and pray the officer didn’t notice the wrapper rolling by?
As the officer stepped back up to CM’s window to hand her the ticket, she saw the wrapper lodge itself behind a prickly plant.
The officer asked if there was anything else she wished to tell him.
“Well yes…” she said, “Would you mind handing me that wrapper that just flew out of my car?”
“Where is it?”
“Behind us, lodged in that prickly plant.”
“That one there?”
“Yes.”
“Ok.”
So he handed her the wrapper and sent her on her way, with clear instructions not to put burgers in front of her speedometer in the future.

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The Wrong Bus

Ave managed to walk all over downtown and get her errands done before 5.
She could take an early bus home or go to the art store 3 blocks away.
She was short on art funds and in this 90 degree weather she thought about how crisp the a/c would be inside the big blue bus.
She detached into her virtual world at the stop for a few minutes as a row of professionaly dressed non-sweaty females stealthily trickled up against the local library.
When the bus pulled up, there was something wrong about it.
The driver was unrecognizable to her.
She hadn’t taken that particular bus in a few months.
It was packed.
She waddled her way down the aisle to the first empty seat with an ocean view, which was also the last seat on that side of the bus.
She closed her eyes and grinned as the a/c vents blasted her thick curly head.
Just when she was about to pull the lever to lean the seat back, she noticed a lump on the armrest.
A blue goop.
Yuck.
A gum.
It was a gum!
A chewed up wad of a guck of a germ laden gum!
She quickly grabbed her bag and coat and hopped to the seat across; one with an ample view of the freeway.
The gum kept looking at her across the aisle as if it was about to grow legs and strangle her.
She took out her bus schedule in order to text her husband about not forgetting to pick her up.
There was no scheduled stop to where she was going.
Was this not the bus that she used to take all the time to get home?
The horizontal line on the trifold page could not be wrong.
This bus she was on made no such stop.
In a flash, she saw her fate before her: “Honey! I got on the wrong bus!”
“How do these things always happen to you?!? I can’t pick you up til 10!” (Hypothetical).
She ran to the front and begged for a transfer slip.
(Since her bus funds were also low.)
As she made chit chat at the next stop with a normally apathetic woman, she noticed a shady stone wall that beckoned at her.
She waited for the woman to look the other way before akwardly straying over there.
“Ahhh,” she thought, “no a/c but shade is nice.”
But something kept tickling her up her skirt til she finally became paranoid and shot up onto her feet.
She’d been sitting just above a spider web.
‘That spider was trying to rape me!’ she gasped.
The next big blue bus pulled up and Ave verified the destination with the driver.
She put her transfer into the machine thingy (what did we call it last time? Dollar gobbler?) and momentarily freaked out as an automated voice announced to the rest of the passengers, “TRANSFER DENIED. PASSENGER IS POOR. PASSENGER STOP HOLDING EVERYONE UP.”
She turned red-panicky toward the driver.
“Let me guess,” said the driver. “You got on the wrong bus?”
Ave waddled her way to the back seat of the ocean-facing side of the bus, the only available ocean-view seat, and did a general search of the area for any stray gum guck.
This was, in fact, the right bus.

image
Ocean view. Big deal.

The bus arrived early at her off stop.
She mingled with a pack of homeless waiting to be picked up.
Well “mingled” is such a strong word.
Maybe she just didn’t hide from them.