On Saturday I went to work as usual. I got up, got ready, and took the 8:30 am bus as
usual. And what has also become 'as usual,' the driver's son was on the bus, too.
I'm thinking this boy must be about 12. He's sitting opposite his father at the front of
the bus, and I don't know how long he’s been here already, though probably as long as his
father--it could be a couple of hours. In previous weeks, I've seen him with books, and
puzzles, but this morning he has nothing. He's an OK kind of kid; he just sits: no problems.
The route itself never changes; the scenery is always the same. It's alright for the
driver, because he’s doing something at least. But I think of the boy, "Gee, this isn't
something I’d want to do."
I go in to do my Saturday teaching, my usual students. On the way back I do some
shopping, then wait for the bus in the Transitway Station. While waiting, I am fascinated
by a small boy. He must be about three, very small, but running all over as fast as his little
legs can carry him. His body is just slightly prone forward, and he looks as if he just might
fall--but he doesn't.
He has obviously only been walking a short time, and it is a pure joy to him. His father
can just keep up. There is a grassy strip behind the concrete waiting area which he gets his
father to lift him up to, and runs along it. It is uneven, and he does trip, but it
hardly slows him; he’s laughing and back up on his feet in no time.
Back on the concrete, his father pens him in so he won't run into people, and keeps
him from running in front of the busses; he is very unhappy with this.
Then his bus comes. His father picks him up, and carries him on; this does not make
him happy either. But this is the way it must be.
I am thinking about it when I get on my bus. And who should be on the return trip?
The driver and his son, the boy looking a bit the worse for the wear of six hours
since I last saw him.
It's Monday night, and I have been trying to get this right from the moment I got off
that bus: Under his own power, the baby was in a pure ecstasy, the absolute joy of
using his entire being--but he wasn't going anywhere far, though maybe to his new
senses, and new locomotive ability it was not the same old concrete waiting area
I've waited in, since before it was built, actually.
And the boy on the bus, he actually went somewhere, and his father actually
did something. But the baby went where he wanted, within the broad limits his
father set for him, under his own steam. And the boy, with his father, only went
where the bus could go, planned as a route, which itself was determined by the street
layout of the city.
The baby actually went where planning didn't provide for--the grassy strip behind the
concrete; the boy was stuck in the machine his father ran.