on schedule.

Taking the bus teaches you a lot about timing. Mostly about how numbers - the ones that tick by on digital clocks, the ones we believe to be certain and immutable like religion - are not real. They have nothing to do with the speed of an object moving through space. A schedule does not take into account half-melted slush on a morning road, or an extra stop for a person the driver saw running in the rear view. A schedule is the most senseless kind of a hope, hinging on everything going exactly right. Things just don't happen this way, and you don't need to take the bus to know that.

I've calculated the time from my door to the streetcorner (two minutes). I know how long it takes me to get out the door - after I've decided to leave but before I've double-checked all the knobs on my oven. (four minutes) The schedule is memorized, and I'll sprint down the sidewalk, satisfied that I made it with a few minutes to spare.

And I'll count them down. four, then three, and then it's due. The clock starts over. And I'm still standing there shivering, as the interval between buses begins again.  This is when an early bus is worse than a late bus. When I look back at the last five minutes and realize that despite the numbers - the trusted static of time - what I was waiting for wasn't coming. It never was, it was already gone before I began.

Since I entered this decade of my life I've said that 26 was my 'scary year'. Not when I will feel old, but when I want to start becoming the person I had in mind. Twenty-six is the year I will stop granting myself the grace of inbetween.

I was thinking about twenty-six when I left for work this morning. My keys were in the door when I heard the turning of the wheels, the rush of air as the bus went by. I looked at my watch. I still had time. But I didn't. Because despite the plan, the bus was gone.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this : It's not enough to come running in the final seconds. You have to stand at the curb, you have to be ready for what's coming for you.

[ (photo) kodak portra film with pentax k1000 on the grey-hound between Seattle and Bellingham]


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