5:30AM. Night. A dark walk to my first bus stop. Cool humid air. Crickets. The long and steady exhale of an occasional car rushes by, killing the night with its brightness before dying itself. A spider’s midnight engineering webs across my face and chest and I sputter and slap myself. A man shadows by on the opposite side of the street and heroic fantasies of self defense occupy my mind until I reach my standing place. At the bus stop, the early morning gradually turns to early day and the romance of my adjusted routine sours to reality: busted car blues. The expensive kind. The bus smells of heat and dust. Harsh florescent lights mirror out the morning and all that can be seen outside is the brightest neon of commerce. The coach wobbles forward and stops, forward and stops, forward and stops, as though it is a coach, drawn by frowning beasts of burden. Graffiti is etched into the windows with diamonds. Advertisements of who to call for schizophrenia or depression (Press #4 for veterans). English and Spanish. Elevator pings of stops requested. I see the O’Reilly’s, where I struggled to change a brake light then gave up and drove away angry. There’s the Half Price Books I visit for unfamiliar copies of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. I collect them. Don’t know why. I bought a puzzle at Great Hall of Games so I could relax. 1000 pieces. There’s a piece count where relaxation ends and high blood pressure begins.There’s her house, a woman whom I've known for years but only in the night. Austin Books, my favorite comic book store. The Drag. I’ve hiccupped down this road many a twilight, whiskey bubbles popping in my vision, pink elephants haunting my steps. There’s Einstein’s, the arcade I went to after resolving to finish an 11th grade school day, then changing my mind and leaving . . . on a city bus. There’s the Whataburger I visited the morning Craig wouldn’t speak to me because I made him spend the night in a strange house while I called on a lady we’d run into that evening. Breakfast taquitos. There’s TownLake (which is now called LadyBirdLake, which isn’t a lake at all but a river. The Colorado River) where I used to run every day. 5 miles.
4.5 hours of fun. Every day.
The bus is now filled with proletariats, I think as I open a copy of The Communist Manifesto. Brown and black men and women with leathery skin and droopy faces. I try not to think of their commonality because it’s too early for outrage. I read and after 30 minutes, I’m carsick.