In the ladies bathroom a petite older woman draws on her eyebrows, hesitates, asks for the aesthetic reassurance of a seven- year old girl. A teenage girl squeezes pimples on her chin and wipes the blood away with toilet paper. To her right a woman applies mascara. In the corner of the bathroom a woman is using a curling iron to style her hair. I look in the mirror and pick a speck of glitter off my temple. I don't know how it got there.
Stuck in traffic on the Bruckner.
My seat partner is a thin, angry, old man sucking on an extinguished cigar stub and grumbling in a Portuguese accent,
"Accident-- you death! It's over. Why we sit here?
(a siren wails past)
Good- for- nothing police! Now the devil come!"
After sitting on a feeder in the South Bronx for more than an hour (engines off, parking lot- style) numerous passengers gradually worked up the nerve to individually plead that the driver let them off the bus. The most dramatic of the lot were three insolent college- aged boys. Backpacks on, they insisted that the driver could and MUST let them off the bus. One claimed that he would miss his sister's wedding. At 2:40 P.M. the driver asked, "What time is the wedding?"
The boys bickered with no regard for the driver's numerous refusals to their request. The driver clearly and calmly stated that it was against state law and that he was liable and responsible for their safe arrival at the final destination. The boys threatened to report him to the bus company. What a threat! "Your driver refused to let me off the bus while we were in traffic on the highway in the South Bronx."
Later on in their complaining traffic began to crawl again. All the other drivers who had wandered away from their stopped vehicles scurried back to their cars and the boys finally shut up. The man next to me growled, "Ahh . . . stupid punks!"
I have such fond memories in the South Bronx. Especially thanks to Casa Del Sol and The Cherry Tree Association.