Monday June 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the bus driver.

I got Maja to the 5:50 bus this morning (with time to spare, believe it or not) before coming back home and going back to sleep. It already feels very strange to not have her around.

Genevieve came by to work this morning and then spent the rest of the day with her visiting family at her grandfather's house here in town. She's catching a ride back to Calgary late tomorrow morning but has kindly offered to help out with the box harvest pretty much right up until her parents are ready to leave town.

Once both of our helpers have left it will feel extremely different around here.

But for now the focus is on week four of the boxes. After dinner Kat helped me pick all the raspberries we'll need for tomorrow, so that's a big chunk of work out of the way. It's going to be a hot one so the plan is to get an early start.

So maybe I should stop writing and get some sleep.


All day long people come and go. If I'm lucky some will even say hello. Most don't, though. They just tell me I'm late, I'm late, I'm much too slow.

There are always too many cars on the road, uncaring of my heavy passenger load. Tempers flare and patience erodes. Just a matter of time before someone explodes.

Another coin jangles in place, delivered by one more unsmiling face. Move to the back, there's always space. Quickly now, we're losing the race! The neighbourhood snail sets a punishing pace...


Greg said...

Well done on making the 05:50 bus! You can't have had a whole lot of sleep last night then.
I guess the question for a couple of days time is then: do we get a retrospective of your helpers' time with you? And any thoughts on things you might do differently with the next helpers?
Good luck with the box harvest, and that's a rather nice rhyming prose piece for someone who's been up all day and working hard! Well done :)

The bus driver
"!" Matron realised a little too late that she was abbreviating Fatima's name and dropped the last syllable in explosively. Fatima, oozing out of the sides of the chair was called Fati by everyone who knew her, because it's exactly what they thought when they saw her. "We've had complaints about you."
Fatima was sweating, but that happened all the time in the Royal Strange Hospital for Derelicts, Drunks and Desperados. She wiped a hand large and hairy enough to be called a paw across her forehead, and frowned at Matron, a slim woman who was rumoured to be both bulemic and anorexic. "From who, Matron?" she asked politely, but in the privacy of her mind she was promising the woman a slow and painful death for almost calling her Fati too.
"Mrs. Clewes said you were unfeeling," said Matron. She'd read the paperwork so many times that she had the litany memorised.
"Mrs. Clewes, the bus driver? She's dead."
"Yes," said Matron. "But she's spoken to Serena and complained that you were most unfeeling towards her desire to drive buses again."
Serena was the ward medium, which though unnecessary in most hospitals was essential in the Royal Strange.
"She's dead, Matron," repeated Fati. "She can't drive because she can't physically affect the bus. All she can do is decompose in the driver's seat. The passengers won't pay for that."
"She feels that you're thanatophobic," said Matron.
"I'm a fat what?" Fati's voice rose two registers and shrilled alarmingly.
"Thanatophobic," said Matron, who'd had to look the word up herself. "Afraid of, and therefore prejudiced against, dead people."
"I work here," said Fati, waving a paw around to indicate the building they were in. "In the Royal Strange. I have almost no prejudices at all, except against people who put lemon juice in their yoghurt, and surgeons who can't tell the difference between people and Russian dolls."
"Well yes," said Matron, sighing. "But Mrs. Clewes has complained, and so she's been put in charge of the staff bus."
"Is it going anywhere?" asked Fati, nastily.
"No," said Matron. "And since you caused this problem, and you take the staff bus home, you can sort out this little mess."

Aholiab said...


My NaNoWriMo effort this past year didn't go much beyond the ideas that you had inspired with your prompts. However, today's added another insight into the world of The Invisibles. So with your indulgence, here is what might happen in an everyday activity.

The Bus Driver

Elisa shuddered slightly as she deposited her change in the collection box on the bus. She had known that the driver would be an Invisible as the bus had approached her stop, since it had the translucent “I” logo on the side. It still unnerved her to see an apparently empty driver’s seat with only the I-Bracelet hovering near the steering wheel to let her know that someone was actually there. She smiled toward the driver’s seat and said, “Good morning!”

A male voice responded, “Good morning, Miss.”

She nodded and made her way down the aisle to find a seat. It was always a small comfort to know that a person was actually there, and to know if it was a man or woman.

The bus was nearly full with equal numbers of Visibles and Invisibles filling the seats. She located one with neither occupying it and sank into it cautiously. Occasionally someone would forget their I-Bracelet and a Visible would end up sitting in their lap. She nodded in the direction of her seatmate and watched as the bracelet moved to turn the pages of an invisible document. “Looks like it’s going to be another hot day,” she commented.

This time a female voice responded, “Yes, I was hoping we would get some rain, but it looks like another glorious day in Southern California.”

Elisa glanced toward the front of the bus as the vehicle moved away from the curb. It was odd to think that the driver could be sitting there, totally naked, and she would never know it. Just because everyone assumed that he was wearing invisible clothes didn’t make it so. But surely the other Invisibles would have made a fuss about it if he weren’t. It was just another article of faith that she had to accept in this strange new world.

She leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes. Maybe this way she could ignore the possibly naked, invisible driver who was guiding the bus to her destination.

Marc said...

Greg - hmm, maybe a retrospective at the end of the season looking back at all (I hope there's an 'all' at least!) of our helpers. Hard to find time (and perspective I think) in the middle of it all.

But, essentially, we were extremely pleased with our first two helpers of the year. If we're equally lucky the rest of the season we shall count ourselves very fortunate.

That is a... delicate situation you've described there! I'm not sure who to sympathize with... if anyone at all :P

Aholiab - ah yes, that's how it goes sometimes. I'm glad to see your story is still running laps in your head though - you never know when it'll force itself out in full :)

Wonderful descriptions and use of point of view here. I can easily see myself in Elisa's shoes, trying to act like everything is normal while feeling that nothing is actually as it should be!