Take this guy coming down the Max aisle on his way out. Who dressed him this morning? He looks like Elvis Presley's runty brother. He's got bedhead, his eyes are slits, the expression on his face suggests he's getting a second taste of the Cheez Kerls and Cherry Garcia he had for dinner last night. But his shirt is clean and tucked into his Dockers and he's wearing new shoes and it's 7:30 a.m., so he must be going to some kind of job, right?
In my own way, I've been there. Slept through the commute. Missed my stop. One morning, a guy sidled up to me in a standing room only train and whispered "Your fly is down." Imagine trying to zip up in that situation . . . Somehow, I did.
Another morning, after changing an inside-out sock discreetly at my desk, followed by a conversation with my boss, I found a booger poking out of my nose.
So, looking at this young man I was looking at myself. But in slow motion. He moved freely enough, without a prosthetic, cane or other helpful technology, without leaning on the seat backs for support, in a lucid, syrupy dream. As he oozed along, his face stayed smooth and bland. He put one pod in front of the other. Took a moment. Put the other pod in front. Took a moment. If I could have just heard the motor in there, I would have known he was remote controlled and figured the battery was about gone.
But perhaps he was "Being Here Now," savoring the moment -- the Cheez Kerls coming around for the second time, the smell of the crowd, the fluorescent limelight. What is a journey on Trimet, anyway, if not life's strange journey in miniature?
Shorty Presley finally reached the door, watched his bus go by, said "Damn, that's what I get for making music," and with surprising energy, trotted out onto the street.