A Matter Of Time.

There’s a clock on a pole across the street from where I wait for the bus most afternoons.

I’ve never bothered to calculate exactly how much time I spend waiting for the bus, and it varies from day to day. Some days I sit for five minutes, some days it’s half an hour, and it’s a little annoying that I always rush to get to the bus stop but the bus driver isn’t necessarily in as much of a hurry to get to me. There was one driver who was consistently late and every day loudly complained that it was the driver before him who’d been running late causing a domino effect. I noticed whenever there was a substitute that driver would be on time.

Not that waiting is necessarily a bad thing. I used to sit and read books. Some days the wait was just long enough for me to read, really read, a poem. Or I’d pick up the free newspapers like the Nashville Scene which, for a while, published a poem a week.

Now I mostly listen to podcasts which I feel has kind of brought me back to when I was a kid. My father always listened to talk radio in the car. In some parts of the country, some pretty close to home, he could pick up bizarre preachers expounding on their theories of how Mikhail Gorbachev’s birthmark was really a 666, or how the prevalence of triangles on the show Buck Rogers was a Satanic plot. For more serious fare he listened to public radio, so I’d sit in the backseat and hear stories from the BBC or the news. Some mornings we’d listen to Dick Estell’s Radio Reader, which was both fun and frustrating if we got wherever we were going before the story ended. Or, since Estell tended to read long books, I’d hear a chapter and say, “Yeah, so what happened then?” I also remember when they ran the original radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and an audio adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings, although those came on early enough on Sunday mornings that I could listen at home and never missed an episode, but that’s another story.

So it’s actually good if I have some time to wait, although one of the nice things about listening rather than reading is I can do it while walking. My usual stop isn’t one of the fancy ones with a digital display that tells me exactly when the next bus is coming. It’s just a standard old bench where I can sit and watch the clock.

Except that the clock hasn’t worked in months, maybe even years. It’s permanently stuck at 2:55, so while a broken clock is right twice a day it’s never right at a time when I’m there.

 

8 Comments

  1. Allison

    When my husband and I were dating, I lived in Atlanta, he was in Nashville, and my car at the time only had a crappy radio. So, for a good hour right after Chattanooga to Manchester, I wouldn’t get much, other than a channel that did religious radio plays (http://www.whitsend.org). They were hokey, and overly simplistic, but it was that or static.

    Sometimes now I’ll do the whole drive without music, or I’ll listen to whatever is loaded on my phone, but I haven’t found them in years. Hmm.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s a shame that they’re no longer around, at least on the radio. It’s ironic that media proliferation has pushed some things off the air, although these days we have so many options that silence can be a nice change.

      Reply
  2. Jay

    I used to love having quiet time on the bus – music and a novel, it was great for unwinding. The waiting, however, I was never happy about. They should dispense with schedules if the schedule doesn’t mean anything!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Yeah, it’s really hard to enjoy even just listening to something when I’m waiting and watching for the bus. One of the nice things about technology though is I now have a bus app that tells me to the minute when a bus is supposed to arrive.

      Reply
  3. Ann Koplow

    Another post worth waiting for, Chris. Thanks for your time.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I always appreciate you taking the time to comment here.

      Reply
  4. Gilly Maddison

    As always, I enjoyed your reflections on what you see around you and where your thoughts take you but wow! – what a treat at the end! I’d never heard of Carbon Leaf so I Googled them straight away and will be buying their music for sure. So thanks for introducing me to a new band – they should pay you commission. And why does that singer make me think of Green Day? Is it just that the accent is the same?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m glad I could introduce you to something new. I think it’s just the accent that’s making you think of Green Day although interestingly one originated in California and the other in Virginia.

      Reply

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