Sketch contribution by Monica Kostas
Get ready to never see bus drivers the same way again. This week we feature a story by John O’Reilly who takes us through the route of his daily tribulations as a city bus driver in Minneapolis.
You’re just driving along, keeping your eyes open, checking side streets and blind alleys, and it happens. No warning. It jolts you, and you instinctively look down the road for the next blue reflective bus stop sign. If you know the route well, you can visualize exactly where the sign is. If it’s a route you don’t drive often, you push your eyes as far as you can see to find the next one in the thicket of poles on the side of the road.
It’s not until you’re a bus driver that you realize exactly how many signs crowd the boulevards of our cities. Only one among them is the one that your passenger has signaled for you to stop at, and you have the short time between registering the sound in your brain and where the sign sits to apply the full weight of your brakes, hundreds and hundreds of pounds of air pressure, to slow a half a million dollar vehicle to a stop without taking out a side mirror, hitting a biker or crushing a car, and maneuver it smoothly to the side of the road at exactly the spot where the passenger intends to alight. Every time, hundreds of times a day, it takes all your concentration to accomplish this simple, single task.
Surprise – by Monica Kostas
This week’s piece comes to us by a regular Recomposition contributor, Invisible Man. In the face of fierce debates on racism, profiling, protests, and riots, his anecdote detailing an altercation with cops in Alberta feels painfully relevant.
A Worthless Piece of Plastic
by Invisible Man
There’s nothing to do on a Saturday night in Lacombe. We want to see a movie. In the fall of 1999, the nearest theatre is half an hour’s drive away in Red Deer, Alberta.
So, as usual, we drive into town with a borrowed ride – Terry at the wheel. (He’s white, you have to think of these things.) We turn into the theatre parking lot to read the lighted billboard on the north side of the building. As usual, there is nothing worth seeing.
“Let’s go to the cheap theatre. At least we won’t be wasting our money on a crappy movie.”
“You wanna walk?”
“Yeah, let’s walk.”
A friend of ours who blogs anonymously as Invisible Man sent us this three part story about his experiences at work and beyond. It’s powerful stuff about work, class, race, and the struggle to keep on keeping on.
C’est pas un pays, c’est un hiver
The Suit Shop
It was late in the afternoon and the sweaty, noisy, humid factory day was almost finished.
It was bitterly cold outside, but you wouldn’t know it from the inside of the suit factory. And you could easily forget that it was winter, because at Men’s Clothiers International where I worked, there were no windows to the outside. But 2003, my first winter in Montreal, was one of the coldest winters on record.