Well, the Joyous Season of Yuletide Ass-Kicking continues apace. Work piles up, laundry piles up, dishes pile up, mail piles up, piles pile up, and while I'm off breadwinning my wife works herself to a frazzle trying to cobble together some sort of Christmas for the boys. When the fuck is any of us supposed to do any shopping? I barely have enough time to stay up all night and write blog posts.
My best respite from the constant nonstop is the Friday afternoon bus ride home, a pleasant little ritual that affords me about 45 minutes of relative peace. I love riding Manhattan buses because of the special demographic they attract. The movers and shakers all flock to the subways, but it takes a special quality to ride the bus at rush hour. You have to be either calm enough not to worry about when you'll get where you're going, or nuts enough not to have anywhere special to go.
This past Friday I sat a few rows away from a large guy who looked asleep. His clothes told me he wasn't homeless, but his weathered face and large, blistered hands told be he lived a hard life. Perhaps he'd left the job site early and went off for a few pops with his crew.
After a few minutes, our man entered a new layer of consciousness and began lolling to and fro. He'd loll forward, catch himself, look alert for about half a second, and then loll over in another direction. He teetered and bobbed liked a multi-axis drinking bird for several minutes, and the effect was very soothing. As close as he came to falling out of his seat, he never lost his center of gravity. Sometimes, his body would ease itself almost parallel to the ground, yet somehow he'd steal just enough clarity to push himself back to the vertical before his eyes flickered shut and the cycle renewed. I was mesmerized by his innate sense of self-preservation--until the bus stopped short and he pranged his head on the seat in front of him.
At that point, the tall Caribbean gentleman with resplendent graying dreadlocks down his back adjusted his half-moon granny glasses and said to no one in particular, "Dat fool be stone drunk." Then he returned to his knitting.
My drunk, undulating friend epitomizes my Christmas this year. We will wobble and slump, we will nearly founder, we will raise a welt on our forehead, but we will persevere until we reach our destination--even if Daddy has to stuff every stocking with cash.