Sorting It Out

There is no bus that goes directly to the Oakland airport from the old Spanish style house in the Berkeley Hills where I lived when I was 29. Nevertheless, when one pulled up there, air brakes hissing, I got on. The driver was a pleasant enough fellow but obviously drunk. "You're my first fare today, man," he said, all loony smile and crazy teeth and the rest of the trip his eyes were more on me than on the twists and turns down Grizzly Peak.

On the flight back from New York I began to regret, broke as I was, going all that way with no one to see and nothing to do, then turning right around and coming back the next day. I landed in Sausalito, whose residents will insist they have no airport and maybe they don't, but the Sausalito train station, with its sweeping views of the Bay, remains the best place in California to board British Rail.

In New York I lodged for several days just down the hall from the apartment where John and his wife live, but I only stopped by to say hello on my way to the airport. This was right after the woman who owned the apartment where I was staying returned home early from a trip of her own and hurried me into the hall without even letting me latch my bags. Bleary-eyed and shirtless, John opened the door and hugged me, his wife's sleep-thick voice from within asking who the hell it was. We had lifetimes to exchange (for instance, who was this woman he'd married? And when?) but I had a plane to catch.

And whom among us will ever forget how nonchalantly that attractive woman in seat 17B gave birth to triplets in the free fall after the bomb exploded, cracking the fuselage like a robin's egg. After the third babe slipped out easy as a vapor from beneath her short pleated skirt, the black woman sitting next to me yelled what I'm sure we all were thinking: "Stop the bitch up!"

Image above: ac transit bus in the rain by talented flickr user monkeycat! used under the Creative Commons by-nc license.

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