I rode the late bus home tonight. Two AM from Mission and 16th back to the Panhandle. On the 5, I was sitting in front of two men having this conversation, which I had the gross displeasure of overhearing.
Our eyes met, separated by a thin pane of glass and 10 feet of concrete, but entire galaxies couldn’t fill the gap in our individual experiences. I was sitting in the backseat of a car, head leaned against the glass, enjoying the infrequent luxury of quiet and comfort in a cab on my way to work. I saw him as my car slowed for a red light, hunched with one other man on the sidewalk nearby. He was my age, dressed casually with the patchy start of a bleach blond beard. He appeared nervous, as if on edge, but friendly. His head rose and made a quick assessment of his surroundings. He saw me staring, but I held my gaze; when he looked back a heartbeat later, he held his. We shared three tantalizing seconds of eye contact; I can’t know what he saw in my look, but in his I read fear, or perhaps surprise at receiving such direct attention. I looked away first, feeling uncomfortable for a reason I didn’t understand, and in my periphery I saw him bow once again to the crack pipe.
It was just after 4am when I turned the light off. This was last night, and as I consciously attempted to quiet my brain, I lay on my stomach and willed myself to sleep. My third consecutive day spent, in its entirety, at work. My eyes fluttered shut and I felt thankful that I’d get a full five hours of sleep. Now it’s nearing 1am, just about 24 hours later, and I’m overeagerly writing in anticipation of the sleep — a glorious 8 hours or more tonight — that will follow.
I tried and tried, but I can think of nothing sexier than riding the bus. I was once enamored by the golden chariots, hailed at the curb and made to whisk us about as we lounge in the hushed, leather interior, but I grew lonesome. I longed for the bleeding humanity of close quarters and the tiny moments of eye contact. The subtle body contact of sitting side-by-side, unified by the pureness of simply living.
Far and away the most difficult part of upholding a promise to write every day is coping with days that stretch into weeks where you feel inspired by nothing. You sit down to write and find a vast wasteland where not a single thought is of interest. As evidenced by posts like these, I am going through one such stretch.