Still, I prefer that first seat on the passenger side, the windshield so wide and flat in front of me, like maybe I own it, the bus and the bridge and the sky. Here is a photo I snapped with my phone one morning last week:Last night the bridge was backed up. What should have taken 15 minutes took almost an hour, and my cell phone was dead. Excuse me? Do you know what's going on? I asked the bus driver lady. A few weeks ago this same bus driver had yelled at me. Quiet down back there! This 'aint no happy hour! I had been talking to a friend and she had laughed, and then we snickered when we got yelled at, both of us children of California in the 70's when Proposition Something took away the state's school buses. It felt funny to be yelled at by a bus driver, like some sort of hackneyed after-school special starring Missy Gold. But last night the bus driver lady was my friend, and so she turned up the volume on her radio. There is a situation on the bridge... And of course I thought of Jersey Shore because I am broken like that.
I asked the woman next to me if I could borrow her phone. Which, on a commuter bus going home in which nobody talks and the hour has been deemed unhappy is kinda' like asking the person next to you if maybe you could borrow her undies. Just for a second? But she let me, and I cupped my hand around the phone as I whispered a message to Bryan real quiet. Then we crawled along around the curve to the toll. Still, we could not see anything.
We got a jumper, she said, matter of fact, which must be a pre-requisite for bus drivers, the part about being matter of fact. How do you know? I asked, because I am more matter of what than anything else, but she just shrugged. That's what they do sometimes, you know? Drive to the middle of the bridge and then just get out and jump. Empty car--jumper. Pshhh, and then she shook her head, it being the height of the commute and all. In front of us they had closed the right lane, and there it was: an older yellow Ferrari without anyone inside. Three police cars behind it, one in front.
I expected more, I think. A crowd peering over the railing, maybe, I don't know. I admit to having looked for years, periods in which I crossed the bridge twice each day. It's habit, to scan for someone walking alone. Does he look depressed? What's in his backpack? Who is she calling? The friend of a friend, a guy her husband grew up with, the photo of the girl on the desk of the woman I temped for years ago. The bridge a symbol of San Francisco and Something Else.
One day years ago a man bought a yellow Ferrari and felt happy. I am assuming it was a man because men buy Ferraris, and I am assuming that he was happy. That maybe he felt he had made it with the purchase of that car. And then something must have happened, right? And then something else. Something again, again, more until the man no longer felt happy or anything at all, and one day he drove across the bridge and stopped his yellow Ferrari mid-span and jumped. And then what?
I think about these things too often, what happens first and why and next. Not so much because searching for a reason matters, but because searching makes it whole.
Real. Maybe you think me macabre, and sometimes I do worry this is the case. How I drive over the bridge and look at the people walking alone. What is it? Who are they? The fog whipping through the gates like that. How is life so fucking unbelievably beautiful and so gut-wrenchingly empty at the exact same time? The moment it takes to slam a yellow Ferrari into park, and how I want to swallow it all to understand.
If you are anything like me you need to see this movie. Fair warning: it is intense and disturbing. Happy Wednesday. Seriously. :)