Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rain in August and the Bus Stop to Hell

If you don't move the burned out meth trailer you abandoned near the elementary school the city is going to tow it.
Rain fell in a mist the whole ride back to the northside. Despite the calender, and the humidity, I fear our sweet sweet summer is flagging. At approximately 1:24 a.m., as I began the descent from White Center to the First Avenue Bridge, I spotted a topless woman on the sidewalk.

She was walking through the hood, 9th Ave SW, bearing her breasts for all to see, if there had been anyone else to see besides me. She was not a small woman, nor were her breasts small.

I had to stare at them for a few seconds, look real hard, not out of some lascivious curiosity, but because I was tired and high and didnt believe my eyeballs. She saw me looking.

I nodded at her. In response, she gave me a thumbs up.

Proceeding down the hill, skillfully, I feathered the brakes and checked my six for an SUV that had pulled behind me at the crest. It was this hill where I topped 47 mph. No personal records were attempted tonight.

There is a bus stop at the bottom, on Highland Park Way SW, just shy of the bridge, that attracts a bizarre array of untouchables, glowering, scratching skin that may or may not actually itch. I suspect it is the Bus Stop to Hell, the No. 131, to Burien. No surprises there. Renton rules

Most times while rolling by, my big nose catches the odor of burning, cigarettes, crack, brimstone. Something is always on fire. Debris blasts out in all directions: trash, broken glass, crude left handed graffiti, cigarette butts, grease stains on the sidewalk from contact with humans. A utility box next to the stop lists on its foundation, dishonored, locks broken, gutted of circuitry, vandalized beyond any use and left unrepaired, sort of like the way a parent resigns to leave their toddler's toy broken, knowing she will just break it again, and she seems to enjoy it either way.

Usually there are people sitting around the stop, inexplicably, grouchy as victims of an opium den explosion. No businesses in sight, no services, no stores, little foot traffic, virtually no tree cover, nothing to explain why these people always seem to be hanging around this remote bus stop. Maybe they are amphibious mutants who slither up from the muddy Duwamish, or simply a subculture of outdoor enthusiasts who have emerged from some nearby greenbelt jungle community that denies the lawful authority of man and god.

Maybe I got it all wrong. Maybe, like in the movie "Jacob's Ladder," they are really just angels.

Tonight there were no people at the stop. The smell of burning lingered, however. Off the side of the path, in the grass, the charred remains of what looked like a Christmas tree lied in repose.

A little farther down the parth, under First Avenue, I saw a man sitting in the dry dirt. He was sitting on his butt, his legs sticking straight out in front of him, as though he had just fallen from a horse. The horse ran off, and there he was, still sitting there.

He called out to me. "Sir, do you possibly have the time?"

I hate it when bums call me "sir." It really puts me in my place. I checked my phone and called back to him, "One thirty one."

He said something I couldn't quite hear, then he said, "Thank you."

"You're welcome," I hollered over my shoulder, climbing up onto the bridge deck. I hope he heard me.

It's raining harder now.

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