[A Greyhound lost in a snowstorm; February, 2015]
Yesterday afternoon I took the #77 bus from Arlington center to Harvard Square, sitting on one of the front seats reserved for the elderly (I qualify.) Seated so close to the young, pretty driver, I got to watch her negotiate Massachusetts Avenue traffic and curb-side snowbanks that might impede her passengers’ getting on and getting off. I’d give her work performance an unqualified A+.
I also got to watch her interactions; how she welcomed passengers as if the bus were her own living room, how polite she was, how solicitous, how she created a climate of respect and kindness in that grubby, enclosed, metal, moving space. I noticed how, over and over, people responded to her warmth with surprise at first and then with gratitude, and how almost everyone getting off thanked her! After thanking her, myself, I exited reluctantly, not at all eager to rejoin the jostling, distracted and self-absorbed crowds.
The day before I had been at Suffolk County Superior Courthouse to support a friend—but wasn’t clear what time his case had been scheduled or which courtroom. But when I stepped inside a courtroom to see two older women—clerical/administrative workers I’m guessing by their clothing—in an otherwise empty courtroom, I sensed my search, in a multi-story building filled with tanned, briefcase-wielding lawyers and those caught up or lost in our nightmarish criminal justice system, had ended. Surely these women will help me, I thought. Sure enough, they stopped what they were doing to consult a computer which, once I’d supplied the right keywords, revealed where I was supposed to be and when.
And, yes, I thanked them, too.