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Friday, May 05, 2006

Thursday Night Bus Ride and the GRE

Every Thursday night I return home from a tutoring job about 60 blocks away from home. The ride there is awful. The sun is still up, though just, the bus is full and I have to stand, and the road is clogged. Traffic crawls which makes standing all the more annoying. The ride back, though, is a different story. I never have a problem getting a seat. It is dark, and as I am heading towards downtown ,traffic is never much of a problem. I drift off, falling into a half sleep to whatever is on my ipod. When I come to, we have turned off the main road, Rivadavia, because it turns into a one-way going the other way. We start winding through a bunch of tree-lined one way roads. As we cross intersections, headlights and taillights stretch in opposing directions. Cafes are full with coffee and beer-takers, and I can almost hear the buzz conversation. At one intersection a man dances with fire, entertaining people in their cars waiting for the light to change green...he is hoping for a few pieces of spare change. Because it is cooler now, people hurry on the sidewalk, just wanting to get home. They go in and out of small shops, or stop off at a kiosk for one last necessary purchase. They watch Libertador matches (soccer tournament in South America) on TV's perched in the corners of cheap pizza places and small bars where there are only plastic stools and the only drink you can buy is beer. People get on and off the bus, all looking as tired as I feel. A couple passes by outside, holding hands, wearing leather coats. I think that in a few minutes I will be home watching CSI and eating a dinner that my soon-to-be wife just cooked. Then we will go to the grocery store and then get some helado and walk around the quieter side streets around here - sidestreets where men I see everyday spend everyday sitting on doorsteps, half-hidden drinking wine and smoking cigarettes, all of their belongins bundled into battered rucksacks and set out on curled, ragged sheets of cardboard. The will look at us with eyes surrounded by beaten, pock-marked, red-veined faces that make me wonder how I ever could have thought self-destruction is a glamorous thing. Not far from them, tattered blankets will hide soft, lumpy bodies. The blankets, smelling of body and sweat and street will cover faces as well, and it is a wonder how long until it will be the last time that the faces are covered, before the formless bodies are thrown into a van and driven to a place where they will be disposed of however it is forgotten people are disposed of. We will keep walking, breathing in the soft autumn air (or covering our mouths when buses rumble by, spitting black exhaust on us with all the force of a Chinese man spitting up his lungs on a Tuesday morning in a hotel in Urumqi) and perhaps we will chat about what we will do after our wedding, or if A) happens then B) or if X) happens then Y) etc. etc. and figuring out how to spend money that we don't have and it will all feel like it should be because its a Thursday night in autumn and work is over, one day before the weekend, etc. etc. Then I remember its May and I wonder what the Reds are doing because its late spring and they are doing well and everything gets confused for a moment. Because it is autumn in May or because the Reds are doing so well? Im not sure.

And how did I get to this?

I know. Ive been studying for the GRE, and it is scrambling my brain because Im trying to remember all these rules about geometry and algebra and probability. This would also explain why I havent posted anything in awhile (that and the fact that the old keyboard stopped working and only about two thirds of the letters worked).
Now I remember why all my other attempts at taking the GRE never quite came about.


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11:00 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Well Alan, seeing that feel I owe you now that I have one of your photos hanging (er...sitting on the mantle) in the dining room, hit me up if you need a hand with the mathy stuff.

And the picture looks great, by the way. I thought about sending you a photo of it framed on the mantle, but the idea of such redundancy overwhelmed me.

12:14 AM  

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