While I was waiting at the bus stop I noticed a guy weaving in and out of traffic, crossing five lanes of a very busy street. I could feel a sense of urgency from him as he stopped in the middle of the street, looked both ways, waited as cars zipped right by him, then moved on. Yes, I’m going to call it a sense of urgency because I wanted to think “what an idiot” but I could also sympathize. I don’t have the bus schedule memorized and even if I did they never show up exactly on time so I have no idea when the bus is coming. Sometimes I run to the bus stop just so I can stand there panting for fifteen minutes. I couldn’t entirely blame him for not wanting to walk half a block—a really long block in fact—then wait for a light to change so he could cross safely. In that time a bus could come and go.
Then he hit the sidewalk and kept running.
“Hey man, what time does the bus come?”
I told him any minute. That may or may not have been true. I don’t have the schedule memorized but I’d been standing there for about fifteen minutes.
He pulled out his phone and pulled up a map on the screen.
“Can you tell me if the bus goes near here?”
I didn’t want to reach out and take his phone but it was kind of hard to read. There were street names but not a lot of landmarks highlighted. There was a dot labelled with the name of a small Korean restaurant that I recognized but the fast food place and major grocery store at the next intersection weren’t on the map. Go figure. But I did recognize the spot.
“Yeah, the bus goes right past there. It’ll circle around behind that block but when it comes out at the intersection you can get off there. Where exactly are you trying to go?”
He didn’t answer me but just looked at the map again.
“So it goes right by there?”
“Yeah…are you trying to get to a specific place?”
He looked at the map then put his phone away. “How soon will the bus come?”
“Any minute now.” I wanted to say, hey, I don’t have the schedule memorized, and even if I did…
His phone rang. He pulled it out.
“What? Where do you want me to meet you? Where?”
He started walking down the street in the opposite direction of where he’d shown me on the map. He walked so fast he’d disappeared a couple of minutes later when the bus pulled up.
I’ve never seen him again. He left me with the feeling that I’d answered him but all he’d left me with were questions.