I was riding on the top level of a double decker bus across Western New York the other day, a ride I find myself on often. Many people enjoy being in one place and then finding themselves in another but are discomforted by the idea of actually being in the middle of transporting themselves. I usually find it enjoyable. Especially traveling off of the east coast, where there aren't so many billboards or other cars. On a bus you have no obligations, a rare feeling sometimes.
Anyway, I was peeking out my window and saw in the lane next to ours an old Buick stuffed with old people - three in front and three in back - all six wearing old people wrap around cover one quarter of your face sun blockers. It reminded me of the ridiculous thought my room mates and i had in college where the four of us would buy four separate bowflexes, line them up in our living room and all work out at the same time.
By the time my bus arrived in a Syracuse (just a stop for me, not my destination), I had pretty much forgotten the geriatric sextet. I was thinking about other things. We had about a half hour before our bus continued on eastward and I was wondering around outside in that little sorry patch of grass that is usually to be found between parking lots, then under the awning to the bus depot and then around the lot itself when I noticed the old Buick. Five of the six rattled out of the car and walked right past me in the slow, deliberate walk of the elderly.
They were intent on doing something. They walked in a row, arm in arm. Woman, man, woman, man, woman. Despite this order, the three women spoke to each other across the chests of the two men and quite concernedly at that. Something seemed wrong. At this point I felt engaged with these people (even though they probably hadn't noticed me and probably wouldn't) and decided it was best to walk past them the opposite direction to see what was going on and if they needed help (admittedly, this was probably just an excuse to eaves drop - I was kind of bored, I didn't mention that in the first paragraph).
So I planned. I would walk to their left in a way that could easily be mistaken for walking toward the bus. This seemed like a good plan. My ascent went well, they were still talking and I was ostensibly minding my own business. I got closer and notice one of the women fiddling in her pocket. Everyone became quiet. I thought I had distracted them or maybe I simply missed the boat. Then the old lady pulled a packet of something out of her pocket.
"Hey Shirley, want a Bugle?," she said.
"ooooo ok," replied Shirley.
So it goes.