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Volume XVI: Special Guest Appearance

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The place from which I start my commute doubles as a mediocre zoo. Perhaps that's not a fair assessment; I haven't been inside since a much-hyped 1987 field trip. The Turtleback Zoo proved a far superior destination than Kings Supermarket, site of our other third-grade outing. But the luster has rusted. After a friend's six-year-old nephew hit up the zoo recently, he said his favorite animal on display was "geese."

I'm sticking with my opening-sentence appraisal.

On Friday, a crusty retiree joined us rank-and-file bus peons. I'm not sure what business he had in New York City. That's surprising, considering I know what he did the night before (check out cherry blossoms), his wife's worst driving fear (negotiating bridges at night), and his "number one pet peeve" (our government's 1979 bailout of the Chrysler Corporation).

Like the geese at the zoo behind us, we were on exhibit. The retiree bought a ticket. Now he felt free to stick his fingers in the cages of commuters in captivity.

Unlike the geese, I was loving it. This guy was the new character introduced to ripple stagnant waters, in the tradition of The Great Gazoo, Cousin Oliver and John Bolton.

With the bus running behind, our special guest ran off a list of bewildering queries and observations. "You know why the bus is late? The automobile industry sabotages buses and trains in this country." (I had suggested traffic.)

"If you've done any traveling in Budapest, you'll know what I mean." (This was in reference to the bus shelter's unsatisfactory width.)

"Do you have five nickles for a quarter?"
(I think he was just fucking with me.)

Usually, bus entry is governed by the first-come, first-serve rule. Despite coming about 12th, our guest took the star treatment, serving himself first. Just before boarding, he told us what he learned: "I don't know how you possibly do this day after day. You guys are amazing."

It was not a compliment.

Screw the zoo. And the Kings. The third-graders should be visiting us.

Commuting Suicide, Volume XVI: Special Guest Appearance

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2 Comments

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said qgvfxoi uftk on May 16, 2007 8:14 AM.

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said qgvfxoi uftk on May 16, 2007 8:16 AM.
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