Let me set the scene:
8:40 am. Washington, D.C. Connecticut Avenue NW between Cleveland Park and Woodley Park.
It’s rush hour and there’s some traffic. Not NY or LA level traffic, but annoying DC, small-road, no turn signals when you want to change lanes, asshole Blackberry checking lawyer late for his danish traffic.
Happily reading my Creative Nonfiction1, I notice that there is a hullabaloo of honking while we’re stopped at a red light. Passing it off as early morning normalcy, I shrugged it off, and returned to Rebecca T. Miller’s boring essay (secretly wishing that it was Robin Hemley’s enthralling piece I had just finished).
Some crazy woman in a her European sedan either a) couldn’t take the traffic anymore, b) was just ignornant of her environs, or c) decided that she didn’t have to wait in line at this stop light – she’s got a Blackberry! – and decided that the bus lane would be the easiest possible way to get what she wanted, as fast as possible; to get to the garage, pay her nine dollars for parking (more than what I can afford for food sometimes), get to the office, give her assistants all the work, spend the six hours there shopping for, oh I don’t know, kayaks or something, and then leave at 3:30.
I’m guessing it was c). But it could be b). Who knows.
What I do know is that our bus driver was spectacular. As soon as this woman careened into the bus2 she got out of the car and proceeded to board the bus – kind of a no-no,
who knows if this woman is packing heat but I wasn’t worried, since it’s DC and no one is allowed to own a gun, so no one could possibly be carrying one3 – and accuse the driver of hitting her. He replied smoothly, “Ma’am, you hit me. I have called the police. Please leave the bus.” After she did, and we all got off, he was profusely apologetic to the riders.
And sure, it sucked to have to get off the L1, which drops me off right at my office, and walk a couple blocks to the Woodley Park station, ride Metro for one stop (for which they charged me full price – guess that whole “bus transfer” thing doesn’t really apply for me), and then walk in this heat to work.
But seeing the looks that this woman got as the passengers came off the bus was worth it.
1 Mr. Gutkind, really great idea on the theme for this last issue of CN – Writing and Publishing in 2025 and Beyond. But if you were looking to really take a dump on “print on demand” books, you could have been a little less obvious. It reads as if every essay you accepted was sent back to the author with a note reading, “add a sentence about how print on demand sucks, and you’re good.” It says it in every piece! And what is print on demand exactly? Why is it such a pressing medium to address? I consider myself farily literate, and I have no idea what the hell it is, much less why it sucks so much.
2I couldn’t see if there was any big damage, so careened is probably not the correct wording here. She didn’t fly into us headfirst at 65 miles per hour. But careened is a cool word, and I like it, so it can stay.
3Just because I’m pithy about our gun laws in DC doesn’t mean I endorse the abondonment of those laws. They just need to enforce them.