We stood and waited. The bus stop was cooled by the New Year’s wind. January in the Midwest, in Minnesota, in Minneapolis, is somewhat of a farce. This comes off as a big joke on the locals. The words “New” and “Year”, together, give hope of something new, but the weather does not change. This cold remains. The sun hangs bright and attentive in the sky, though ice and snow cling below to the ground. Grooves formed from cars and bikes catch and turn those along the path, spinning round. These exist now, but sometime after June they slip away in the drainage holes just below the curbs. These bus stops are not heated…
The bus stop was cold, and the bus was running late –typical, usual, I hate. These occurrences are not mutually exclusive; accordingly, they are a tragedy when taking place at the same time. Looking at feet one notices where one has moved; not very far from where one stopped. Life was like this, now. It was a bit of slush, a bit of cold, and a bit of snow, all to go. We try at making it home. The glass fogged up in the bus shelter. Paper schedules held the time, held the wall, whether in the sticky summer heat or the frozen winter cold. Footprints formed below.
At this time my tooth was in the process of falling out. We stood in South. I required a root canal, which no boat could float through, and I lacked the insurance. A thousand things were going through my mind (cliché). Aroma from Bob’s Java Hut came along the sidewalk, and across the street, behind the stop sign and into open nostrils. What the cold did was sting the insides, what the coffee smell did was cause a nostalgic feeling in the same locale, both of these happenings carried consequence. We stood and watched for the lights of the bus. That dim orange-yellow made butterflies flutter.
When the bus came to our stop we were standing on snow mounds. These hard hills were formed from snowmelt and ice and dirt and chemicals. They held in -10 degree weather as pillars of old which erected government buildings. No remedy could transpire in such drastically low degrees. Though, these structures need to stand the test of time. The mounds were slick, pitted, and asymmetrical, shaded dark for the fodder. It was even with the threshold of the bus door. One could step off the cold onto the wet black rubber floors of the vehicle’s innards. It was easy, it was necessary, and being such a small delight it warmed in many ways.
The seats on the bus would be above freezing, this seemed a benefit. I was only aware of how vile bus seats were after my (very close individual), who drives buses, told me about his experience with the bus seat. I asked him something like, “What is the craziest thing you have seen on a bus?” He answered with something like, “What haven’t I seen… Ha! I’ve seen everything…” I mean the list was unending; he had seen people shit their pants, piss their pants, throw up, drop food, spill drinks, throw both of the latter etc. I mean after the first three I was concerned about riding the bus from that day on. Now before I sit down I always pat the seat with my hand. One can never be too safe. Sure, think that wetness on the seat was someone’s wet boot, or shoe, but the likelihood of it being feces or urine is just as good. Keep your ass warm, and your thoughts on positive. Love that seat heat.
The inside of the bus gave us momentary reprieve from the elements. We passed lights and buildings and bars. The city was lit up. These giants became bigger as we came near downtown. It was a parade sorts’ night, as Nicollet Mall typically is come wintertime. This show of façade seemed glowing, welcoming, and friendly. As one gets within it they realize that everyone around is drunk, cold, looking to leave, superficially excited, or set on something else. It can be strange. When in downtown in the winter months, Minneapolis can appear abandoned. There are no regulars just people completely covered walking fast to get out of the cold. They walk shrouded in bundles, through establishment doors. The barren tundra, the looming skyscrapers, and the wind that blows between them are the only members playing a residency in Downtown… There are even fewer pigeons.