There was no coffee in the house. A bus was due in nine minutes, probably time enough to walk a block and a half to Delphina's for an Americano and then squeeze into that particular sardine can at the stop nearest the store. And in case of a near-miss, the next bus was only four minutes behind.
The plan went smoothly. I reached the bus stop with my drink as the bus hove into sight three stops away.
A car slowed on the far side of the street. The driver rolled down the window and waved at me.
"I have to talk to you."
I almost trotted over. But the bus was only two stops back, and I was stretched physically, carrying two bags and a full cup of coffee. Plus I had never seen this guy before. I tried to put all of these thoughts into a wave back at him.
A car came up behind the waver, honking. He drove ahead, pulling to the curb about 100 feet away and continuing to wave his arm emphatically out the window.
I glanced around in case something dangerous was closing in -- no.
The man kept waving. I got bus ticket in hand as the bus roared up and, without slowing, roared past. Funny, there were empty seats in it. Sometimes, of course, a driver skips a stop because she's behind schedule or is returning to the garage for repairs. Usually, I believe, the reason for passing up riders is that the vehicle is full, and this drive-by was definitely less than full. Go figure, I thought.
As I said, the next bus was due in four minutes.
The waver drove to the corner, turned around in the intersection and headed back towards me. He pulled up, leaned hard to put his face near the window. The moment of truth.
"This is not a bus stop anymore."
I glanced up. In fact, the bus stop signpost was gone. Oh. That’s right -- the last time I waited at the stop a couple weeks ago, there had been an announcement posted on the bus stop sign that may have said something about a change to the stop.
I looked back at my interloper.
"This is what I've been trying to tell you."
"Oh. Thank you."
"My wife did use this stop every day. That's how I know."
Wow. What a good neighbor. His generosity suddenly sank in. He had detoured from his trip, probably losing a few minutes from his commute to work, to save me a few minutes' trouble. And I had tried to ignore him.
I thanked him again and ran for the next bus.