Three Kinds of People on the Crosstown Bus - by Robert Lopez
ometimes I don’t make it out of the house. When I tell people this in the way of conversation, in the way human people can sometimes spill onto each other in broad daylight, they try hard to change the subject.
When I am in the house I watch television. I almost never do anything but watch television in the house. I do sleep, of course, and shower. I have a great shower in my house and if I’m not watching the television then that’s where you’ll find me. Sometimes I eat, yes, usually twice a day, something that stands for breakfast around noontime, perhaps boiled eggs and toast, and then again in the evening, which is usually catch as catch can. Maybe I open some soup or I order takeout and have it delivered. It never gets in the way of the television, though. I scan the channels from 2 to 80 and back again, whether I’m eating or not. I spend five or so seconds on each station. What’s on television isn’t important to me. That I am looking for something else is what matters. I am a seeker.
What I have never sought is a job watching television. I’ve also never sought fame or fortune, acceptable living conditions or Trina, but I’m not ready to think about Trina right now. Trina has her place, and it isn’t right here and now.
Trina says she only recently got a television herself, that for years she went without one. I have no idea how she spent time or what her life was like.
This is one reason I’m not ready to think about her.
Sometimes I am forced to leave the house, and it’s always a tragedy when this happens. Sometimes I am compelled to show up at a certain place at a certain time and perform certain tasks for several hours at a time, and after such I take the most direct route back to the house and television.
I have to take a bus to get to the certain place at the certain time. What happens is I rouse myself with great difficulty, shower, shave, eat something regrettable, dress, and vacate the house. I do all of this in 15 minutes. I know other people need an hour or so to do this, which is something I’ve never understood.
The buses in this city make a horrible noise when they stop. Sometimes my head comes off my shoulders when I hear it. I have to cover my ears with both hands to keep this from happening, and people look at me when I do this. I can’t tell what they might think.
The people at the bus stop are almost always wrong. You never see these kinds of people on television, though as I think this I realize it’s wrong. You do see these kinds of people on television, but I always choose not to watch them. These people are none of my business. One shouldn’t associate with these people, and one most often doesn’t.
Mostly it’s no-accounts and old ladies that ride the bus in this city. Most are fat and they are usually nice people, these fat ones, though that is not always the case, either. Sometimes when I start a thought I’ll think it correct only to realize halfway through that it isn’t. So, ultimately, I can’t be sure of something until I’ve thought it through for a while. The trouble is one doesn’t always have the time to think things through. This is what happened with Trina as a case in point.