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Characters #2

An intense looking boy in a brown flannel shirt on the bus in the morning, holding onto a large plastic Target bag bulging full of mysterious items. He has a very prominent brow, giving him an unusually determined and intense expression, but what is particularly notable are his sideburns, which are very, very abundant. He holds a small and well used Bible in his lap, and during the ride he quietly reads aloud to himself with an aura of utter concentration.

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A tall, smartly dressed and professional looking business woman with high heels and short blonde hair, who reminds me – and I am stunningly embarrassed to be able to make this comparison – of Caroline from The Apprentice, both in appearance and icy demeanor. She is the first person to get on the bus after the last of the seats has been taken, and a friendly looking Asian man who always listens to his iPod decides to play the gentleman and give up his seat for her. Without offering so much as a thank you, she promptly sits down. She does not look at him for the entire ride. I wonder to myself whether she has the impression that everyone should be expected to vacate their seat for her and this therefore deserves no thanks, or if, as a high powered, strong and successful woman who is perfectly capable of standing on her own, she is insulted to have a man give up his seat for her in the name of chivalry.

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A oddly weathered looking woman with long, curly hair and a somewhat wild aura about her who waits at my bus stop. She does not wear a hat even in the coldest winter months, and often leaves her coat unbuttoned on blustery days, which makes it billow out behind her. Occasionally, she clutches a cup of coffee. While waiting for the bus, she wanders down the sidewalk away from the stop, leaning into the wind and with her arms, coat and scarf blowing back behind her, until she sees the bus in the distance, at which point she meanders back in time to get on the bus. One day, she wanders so far off down the street that I lose sight of her, and she does not make it back for the arrival of the bus. I do not see her again that morning.

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A tall and slightly greasy looking man who turns up at the bus stop one morning. I do not pay him much attention until he clears his throat and addresses me with a friendly, “excuse me ma’am.? This comes as a considerable surprise to me, since my hair, though overgrown and unkept, is not that long and because I do not consider myself to have particularly feminine features. When I turn to look at him, he quickly realizes his mistake and begins to stammer. However, he skillfully recovers soon after with an, “uh, I mean, mister or whatever? and powers forward with a complicated story about how he used to live in Miami, lost his job, went out west, went through some hard times, and has somehow ended up here at this bus stop on this morning, the end point of which is to ask me whether this bus will get him to Minneapolis, since he needs to get to the suburbs of the city for some unclear reason. I tell him that yes, the bus will get him to Minneapolis, but suggest he ask the driver for specific directions. This appears to satisfy him for the moment, and I covertly try to inch away from him.

On the 144, he questions the driver at length and decides this is the right bus for him, and chooses one of the forward rows of seats. As the bus fills up, a girl sits next to him and begins to read the newspaper without a word. He sits up a little straighter and looks very interested, shooting little glances over at her and apparently hoping to catch her eye so he can start a conversation. These attempts prove to be unsuccessful. Finally, he makes his move, and says, “So…. how’s that sports section today?? The girl, who has not been reading the sports section, gives him a devastating look, replies curtly, “good,? and turns back to the newspaper. Their conversation ends there, and soon after, I reach my stop and get off.