The Cute Driver

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					The Cute Driver Gold Beach, Or. to Los Angeles, Ca., Feb. „03 (What am I thinking of ???)

Oakland Greyhound Station An octagonal space with a light grey stone tile floor. Black people-- lots compared to my exposure to same in many years—are all about, as functionaries, waiting passengers, manning the little snackbar. I feel the energy of music, soothing and funky and low. It‟s my music playing on the P.A.—something Marvin Gaye-ish .I'm a bit in alarm-- and at the same time nourished in some deepdown way in my muscles, in my skin which wants to start to move, to shimmy all over me in lifeblood celebration of this moment—even exhausted and on the vigilant road.

On the way here some skinny white kid with a rough beginning beard was sincerely attempting to interest people in flyers for some Indian guru with a big mole on his cheek. I told him I had already been meditating for thirty years and got what I came for. He is diffident but very much doing what he intends to do. ... He asks: "Who?" "Osho". "Osho? Never heard of him." I say nothing.

We came over an arm of water on a narrow bridge -- didn't take long -- to this station. The lady in the little painted-plywood (just about) hut of a station in Gold Beach had told me maybe I'd want to change buses in San Francisco. "Oakland's a little -- rough." But here I am. There‟s a big cute station-guard in a dark brownygreen uniform; flirting with a little pretty sturdy woman with a bunch of tiny braids down to her waist and a baby. They‟re play-arguing -- he finally lets her use his mobile. A tall black man going to N. Hollywood wears a charcoal denim matching twopiece well-pressed outfit, with a matching cream sweater and cream cap with a border. These all look new-- are worn with matching cream sort of shoe-sandals. I stare in some admiration.

Outside, rain has slicked the pavement and the water gleams. Flourescent lights reflect in the shiny parking lot. The guard goes hoppingly, a little hitch in his step. On his back big letters say SECURITY. ( Do I wonder, then, just how secure? To even speak the word security summons its opposite. I‟m not talking here about just the security from crime—but all and any securities. My life does not have them; does yours? Sometimes it seems to have one or two or a dozen—the meal in front of me now {though not next week‟s.} The bathtub I luxuriate in this moment {in someone else‟s house.} (The green-eyed guy with the pugnacious jaw next to me in bed, readying his list of what I should not be like. My boxes of writing {as vulnerable as any paper.} My body— and the zillion microbes, the turns and twists of the dark movements invisible beneath the skin. (These do what they want to do; and though I have worked long and much to decode them they are always a step ahead; and perhaps even my efforts to decode are themselves a disturbance to the subtle insistence of the body to be what it is. An animal? A plant? A crystal? A thing from the stars? The symbiosis called human?)

Twins, babies in two navy carrying-cases, sleep under two matching new yellow babyblankets; the carrying-cases sit on the floor in front of a pew-like bench where the parents are stationed. The mother has prominent upper teeth, a red knit cap, jeans with bleached long wide stripes down the back. The father has lighter skin. She's also quite light, and slim. He looks worried, a bit trapped. His hair is a bunch of little wadded corkscrewy things, quite long, sticking out from his head. He wears jeans, a huge baggy shirt down halfway on his thighs, with a sweater over. The effect of the shirt is as if he's wearing an apron. Babies stay shielded totally by the draped little blankets. Looking at all this... I wonder how anyone makes a living... all these people needing everything. The pretty black girl goes on flirting with the big guy, sounds like they are speaking... Jamaican?? - Don't think so.... I‟m fascinated to see how all these people behave with each other when there are just about zero white patties around....
There‟s a white girl with a beautiful neck and blunt features, and a bob of honeyblond hair. A metal thing like a circlet of drool is pinched into her lower lip. And there, a little Mexican girl with a

fungus or something which makes her skin two different colors; and she is wearing strange white bandages which look stitched into the skin -- on her forehead, and the back of her head on the left. My oversensitive body retracts.

Next is a huge black dude wearing electric blue fake-reptile shoes, pull-ons, with elastic inserts around the whole top of the foot; huge baggy cut-off jeans in painter's style-- very new-- these come to mid-calf in the inexplicable style popular for awhile now. They sag over his ass; and he wears a paleblue shortsleeve t-shirt with rhinestone letters on it I cannot read from here. The most astonishing thing of the whole trip so far... our new driver, from Oakland to Santa Cruz, is an extremely handsome guy who says he's just under 45 (--later I asked--) with dark thick just-wavy hair -- a mustache-- beautiful teeth-- and a slim, tallish figure. I am so agog and aghast I say the first stupid thing comes into my mind-- "B-- buh--but why aren't you in L.A. being a waiter who's trying to be an actor?" "That's what everybody says to me!" Me: "Ah God I'm sorry--" He: "You think that's original!" Me: "I blush! Oh no!" He: "You can use the ride to think up something original to say to me." Me: (A long pause, then:) "Why did you become a Greyhound driver?" He: "I've been driving since '77 --" Me: "You existed in '77?" He: "Yep-- my dad was a driver-- I used to be a truckdriver-- How old are you?" Me: (hesitation)-- "50". Then we all get on the bus. I'm bowled over by the dude's charm and glow. I sit right up in what is the front since the front row is now verboten, since the one-time Greyhound bombing somewhere across the country. He comes to me and tells me how well my lipstick complements my skin tone (!!!!!). Says he loves people. "'Specially beautiful people like you!!" Tells me how Greyhound drivers are like a family, very supportive. Me: "How come you're not obese if you've been driving since '77?"

"You take care of your health", he says. "First thing is sleep-- get enough sleep. Then you eat--" Me: "But they stop at MacDonald's!!" He: "You don't eat it. Lots of places give you complementary meals but you're gonna be sitting down next eight hours, you don't eat 'em." In fact I'd been thinking how... ugly human beings mostly were—(for some reason just since arriving in San Rafael, which is Yuppie, so don‟t kow why.). The guy says, "My dad was thin too---" This guy gleams, glows, is simply gorgeous and sweet and has a bit of a stiff spine too which gives almost a robot-movie-star feeling to his appearance --- almost. But on this bus are some goodlooking people-- a pretty little blonde in a black t-shirt and leather jacket, jeans--- as sometimes happens, this vessel seems mostly full of students. I must be staaaarved for attractive males - this one looks just miraculous.... And the bus is new. Maybe the new bus is reserved for the Santa-Cruz upper-classer run. ************ Lots of talking all the way. The college kids are youthfully energetic; bright. An Asianlooking young man goes on at great length and very knowledgeably about current affairs. I agree with him. The driver tells me about a Greyhound driver's life-- the schedules, choices for routes, bidding for routes, sleeping accomodations,-- for example, a dorm in Portland two floors underground; hotels lots of places which have to have a certain size of bed -- ("Lots of drivers are pretty big")-- no more than three degrees of fluctuation in temperature; certain standards. "Yep, that's pretty good," he afffirms. He's not married, lives in Sacramento; he grew up his first seven years in Paradise, Ca.! Which is, of course, my mom's childhood stomping-grounds, much loved in memory, full as it was of woods and brooks and wildflowers and fruit trees. Driver says, it used to be beautiful, now it's too urbanized, 100,000 people in the area. So there goes a piece of my own past too. The part my mother gave me in the stories she told of Paradise.

Salinas In the station--- strangely pleasant. The outside world is also new--- Monterey pines, everything Spanish. A thick vaporous sky with blue showing and sometimes high- piled clouds. Lots of vegetation, but of a slightly dusty green, a greyish-green. The bus was nearly empty from Santa Cruz to Salinas. Now there‟s a nice older driver. The bus station has a green floor, done in linoleum tiles. The building feels substantial, venerable, and definitely Spanish. A beautiful young guy offers to help me with my bag getting off the bus-- it is in his way-- he's breathtaking; fairly black, big lips, beautiful teeth, intelligent eyes. Tall and slender, with a grace around his movements. He's got fabulous hair-- it's formed into a very thick braided cord on the front top of his head, and comes out over his face in a downward tilt with a bush of hair at the end. It is striking, exciting, attractive. It's the most phallic-looking hairdo I've ever seen. I just want to get my hands on it. I want to clasp it, feel it, sense it. I want to smell it. Now, in the station, he's leaning against a corner reading a book. He's elegant and slim. Wearing two shirts, white one draping out from under a plaid one. Khakis. Shoes--inexplicable?-- ah yes-- one is aqua and one is white----!!. I say to him, "I love your hair!! It's wonderful!!" Driver: "Me too!" Kid, embarrassed-- "Thanks--" A blond Mexican woman (dyed) with two blond little boys-- natural it seems???-- or not??-- and teddies--. There‟s some kind of nice energy here-- can't say what-- perhaps the Mexicanishness??-but really it's all mixed--. The toilets are accessible only through locked metal grate doors, standing out from the stairwell in a square shape. To enter you ask the ticket guy behind the counter across the space; he clicks a button on a remote deedly, buzzz and you can push through. The bathroom is quite clean, big, large-dimensioned. I presume junkies must have been shooting up in them?? I discover to my horror I have no waterbottle. Immediately I start to feel sooooo thirsty. At least 40 minutes have gone by since I got off the bus. I see no shops. Agh!!!!!! To go hours and hours (eight???) to L.A. with no water??

I go into the parking lot, see a bus there--- it says Salinas-- ask the ticket guy-- he goes out there with me-- I get on the bus-- and--- my water bottle is still in my seat!!!! Joy, hallelujah!! I seize it and go back into the station. Black guy is now drumming on his book. He has taken a huge jaw-clip the type with a hinge and circular loops- - and put it on his do, starting with the bottom of the shaft. It now sticks--- straight up!!!! I laugh and he laughs, we‟re catching each other‟s eye across the room. (I now see that the Mexican kids‟ hair is dyed. They are speaking Spanish. One little boy has a red Spiderman toy.) On the bus. The new driver was brusque with the black-guy-with-the-hair getting on. The new driver is white and has a southern accent. I don‟t like him. He says, along with other announcements, : “No stand‟ in frun‟ a the secon‟ row a sea‟s wheah the yella lan iyus”-(this said all very fast with the ends of words utterly not there)-“als‟ b‟cu‟ sum drav‟ bee‟ assault‟, ah mahsel‟ am a victi‟.” (I can kind of understan‟ wha.) We go past brown dirt fields. There are low grey clouds with plenty of light above them. Hills line both sides of the wide valley. There‟s a wide green divider in the road-- a two-lane road each way. The bus squeaks--- rockingly, on and on. Now it‟s pouring rain. ( Reflecting back-- in Santa Cruz I had a good visit with my brother and niece; stayed with bro in his lawyer-landlady‟s ticky-tacky house which must have cost an enormous amount, big and fancy but with cheapo things, broken and crappy, and also a fantastic dearth of housekeeping. The garage alone you could have charged admission for. I went dancing-- alone as our niece is too young-- . The bar denizens were college kids, young stringbeans, life had not walked on their faces yet… weird. The six or so boys in the band skinnily stuck their hands in their pockets and sort of waggled them subtley, penileishly. Their middles were concave. Their faces said they knew everything. To me, my wrinkled face, wrinkled history, felt glaringly out of place amongst these smooth and confident beings. I was so happy to leave finally when Ian and Shushannah came to the bar door. The only guy who had tried to dance with me was drunk.) The bus is sitting in a parking lot briefly. I pour some of my drinking water with emergen-cee effervescent vitamin C powder in it into an opened-up, plastic-lined, envelope containing black bean humus, purchased at the healthfood store in Gold Beach before I left. You are supposed to use boiling water, wait five minutes approximately with it closed up, then re-open it, and eat it with a spoon. Instead I wait maybe 110 seconds, open it, drink off the top layer of beangarlicvit.C (of course I used too much water, thass me), and squeeze the bbh up out of the envelope and into my mouth. Chew, crunch, as

little un-humidified bean bits go through the sludge--. All I can say about the taste is to strongly recommend you do not do this as I have done.

Henceforth he will be known as RD: Redneck Driver. He says, “Sanh Loo‟ Obip‟-we comin‟ into Sanh Loo Obip‟-. We gon‟ git a noo draav‟ hih. She black‟n‟wat. Yup, she blacknwah‟. You tell „er weh‟ ta go. “ Then he proceeds to tell an old wasp guy about how he was supposed to retire at 65 but got “snagg‟ bag‟ ohn f‟ 8 mo‟ munt‟. He has greasy strands of hair combed over his bare-ish scalp. When the guy with gorgeous hair was getting out I gave him a full silent smile of complete delight. He clapped his hand on my upper arm as he went by. Good. Whatever that message was that was going on it needed something physical. A beautiful young girl- I suppose white- lots of curls, shortish hair, intelligent, a creamy cushiony skin all glowing-- had managed to open the stuck toilet door with a ballpoint. “My claim to fame”, she said, and in a very friendly way opened it for me. A tall jolly black man, older, laughed while this was happening and when I came out put a folded-up plastic bag in the door to prevent it closing. The draav‟ is indeed b&w. Big girl. Lots of little braids. Gorgeous-hair (and his shoes are indeed two different colors, and his whole outfit inspired) goes by me back to his seat. I don‟t blame him for sitting back there when the creep who couldn‟t finish a word was draav‟. Conversation floats by. “Any fixed sign is stubborn. My mam, she‟s Aquarius, my granma she‟s-- she‟s stubborn as fuck”. This is a tall, voluptuous bleached platinum blonde talking to a half-black cute guy. Her jeans sit very low. Next to me now -- ( the bus filled in Ventura, and the bus driver really letting her voice fill the bus too, making people stick their stuff under and above seats-- ) --a pleasant, glowing, plump young Mexican woman with no accent save a USA one-- looks at my travelling jewelry and says, “protection? Grounding?” “Yeah!” I say. “How did you know? - uh- lots of people don‟t.” (I‟m wearing my black tourmaline earrings and pendant.) “I used to work in an angel store - they had stones-I did sessions, regressions, readings-“. Me: “Wow. I do lots of session-stuff with stones. I designed these--.” Her: “Wow. Where?”

Me: “In India. “ She: “Wow.” She‟s got a goodlooking man, light Mexican, and I‟m guessing she runs his life-- he seems very passive, and she gives him instructions in a clear, power-packed voice. About where to put his jacket, etc. etc. She says to me: “We just had a baby? He‟s over there, in a house over there?”- -(She gestures off into the electric-lit darkness of the city, over towards the right--) “Named Moses?” she continues. “A month old? We‟re goin‟ to Las Vegas to get married.” Me: “First baby?” She: “Nope, I got a ten-year-old and an eight-year-old. I left „em with a friend. It was tough.” (She sniffs-she also has a bad cold, as does her guy.) She‟s writing in a big fat book and cradles another big fat book. The one she‟s writing in has big lines and no text in it: they are a Bible, and a journal. The beautiful guy with the hair penis on his head …. on arrival in L.A., as I come out of the thick of the crowd into the plaza outside where a black guy tries to sell me a jacket and other people hang waitingly around-- I see him get into a very nice car with a woman driving and take off forthwith. I am glad--. My oldest girlfriend picks me up, in a great flush of hurry as always; looking beautiful and slimmer. We‟re off to her house where I will meet a new set of exotic pets—these turn out to look like walking twigs, and live in a terrarium, and eat rose-leaves. The variety of characters on this planet is infinite. And in L.A. I will meet more characters, of many weird types, and L.A. will be like a vast Greyhound on its turning, insecure journey through space, replete with earthquakes, carapaces, pervs, peeing neurotic kitties, overgroomed ex-airforce types, assembly-line $125.00- per- person dinners, heavy-vibed hip-hop bars, or a melting-pot bar dancing to a rhythm I can‟t feel as mine…. trendy dinners with Buddhas looming over them, served by girls like knives in black skirts-- people who hurtle, people who trudge in their cars year after weary year as the freeways go on widening like massive ongoing jaws-- old salads from Trader Joe‟s… an Ark I will politely decline to be rescued by, I hope, if the question ever arises again.








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