Lost As Usual
After drinking a glass of Cabernet mixed with lemonade, I leave the restaurant and begin walking to catch the 48 bus. I’m planning on going to the Gasworks Gallery Holiday Party, which I heard about on Meetup. I walk up to the stop next to that great-smelling Mediterranean restaurant I’m always meaning to try and realize the bus is going to be late. There’s a man who’s been waiting a while, finishing his cigarette, and we talk for a minute about bus-related things. Then the bus is there. I try to use my expired transfer and the bus driver asks to look at it but she lets me on anyway.
I am riding the bus. I am alert. I am paying attention to the stops being read in that robot voice. My stop is called. I pull the string and head to the back door since I see a crowd of people waiting at the stop. Not till I start heading back do I realize I’m on one of those extra-long buses that bends in the middle.
The back door isn’t opening. I bang on it. I yell “back door”! Other people notice me and try to get the bus driver’s attention as well. Nothing.
I walk back to the front. “I need to get off.”
“Did you ding the bell?”
I think she means a bell on the back door I didn’t know about. “I didn’t know about a bell.”
She gestures for me to step aside and patiently points out the cord that runs down the bus that we pull for our stops.
I knew about that! and tell her such. And finally, she pulls over, stops the bus, opens the door, and sets me free.
I walk the way I think I’m supposed to, the way I think is west. Curiously, I’m back-tracking the bus’ own route. If I was going in the right direction, why wouldn’t my directions have told me to get off at an earlier stop?
I keep walking. I cross a bridge and walk through suburbia and nothingness. When I’m thoroughly convinced I’m lost, I ask a passer-by how to get to Gas Works Park. He eyes me warily. “I don’t know how to get there from here, but I know it’s on the other side of that bridge.”
Turn around and say thank you all at once. As I again cross that fateful bridge, a beautifully lit boat passes underneath. “Fuck you!” I yell. It keeps right on sailing.
I apologize, don’t worry.
And so I walk and I walk until I find myself on a college campus. I really have to go to the bathroom, so I try to get into an academic building, but the door is locked and the girl inside walks away at my approach. Stepping back, I notice–Bioengineering. Through a window I see a dimly lit lab with shelves and shelves of jars. I walk away, quickening my pace, imaging bioengineered mutant monsters behind me.
I wait at a busy intersection where at least one lane is forever turning my way. Finally cross, keep walking, walking, till… lights. Restaurants. I want wifi but I want booze so I keep on walking.
Then… a neon sign. Big Time Brewery and Alehouse. People are smoking outside, or maybe they’re next door. Anyway, it seems inhabited. I cross the street and venture in.
Lots of wood, obscure beer signs, several huge-screen TVs playing ESPN. But first–bathroom.
Back at the bar, I learn this bar brews its own beer and lots of it. After perusing the many options, I settle on a fruity IPA. I find a table alone to drink and write, but soon am tempted again–by the food menu. It’s written on a chalkboard hung up high, so I stand up and walk over to get a better look.
Quickly, I decide upon a baked potato with chives, broccoli, bacon, cheese, and–the guy behind the counter talked me into it–butter. Tapatio hot sauce over the top. I eat slowly, nibbling between thoughts. Bites of juicy flesh, crisp buttery broccoli, oozing melted cheese, smoky bacon bits, course fibrous skin. Every part of that potato was worth it. I never detect a scallion.
Then, potato and beer gone, I catch the next bus downtown, meet Ben at Vito’s for a drink, and go home.