By Max R. Weller
It was darn cold to begin with, and I haven’t figured out a way to stop breathing in cold air overnight. The outside of my body is warm and toasty while my innards are frozen — I feel like fried ice cream would, if it had feelings. So, I delayed leaving my campsite until about 5:20AM in order to spend less time waiting for Boulder Shelter for the Homeless to open at 6. They were 5 minutes late in opening, apparently because a staff member was tardy for work.
BSH had no hot water available in one of the big percolators. Instead, it bore a sign stating that it was broken. More likely, staff forgot to plug it in before the dining room opened at 6:30AM. So, I had a lukewarm cup of my own instant coffee using “hot” water from the tap. Their alleged coffee isn’t fit to drink, in my opinion.
After leaving the shelter and catching the SKIP bus, I did laundry at Wash-O-Mat, having gone six days in the same clothes. Fortunately, the only transient there was Denver King who stopped by and tried (without success) to bum a cigarette from another paying customer. He’s learned not to even bother speaking to me, or I’ll turn it into another blog entry. I returned to north Boulder with my clean laundry, and when I got back to my campsite I discovered that the newspaper delivery lady, Wendy, had left several Christmas presents for me, having finally given up on trying to catch me there (I was gone Monday night through Friday morning in my motel hideaway). She took care to hide those gifts behind my rolled-up tarp and camping gear, and weighted the big sack down with a large rock. I took the time to read the very nice note she had added to a Christmas card, and it warmed my heart. I decided to leave the presents until this afternoon, because I was in a hurry to catch the SKIP and head to George Reynolds Branch of Boulder Public Library, where I could warm up as I play on the computer.
I was walking as quickly as I could on the icy sidewalk in front of Bustop Gentleman’s Club — those pimps never shovel the snow there, creating a hazard for everyone walking to and from Dakota Ridge and the businesses in that small commercial district to the north — and nearly slipped despite the support of my trekking pole. As I got to the crosswalk on Front Range, spitting distance from the bus, the driver decides to leave rather than wait another ten seconds for me. I stepped in front of the SKIP so he had to stop. After hesitating, he opened the door for me and said in a hostile tone of voice, “Next time, you’re not getting on. I have a schedule.” I know they have a schedule, which is why I’ve never asked to use the lift to help me get on the bus; it would delay it a bit, and I don’t want to admit I’m that disabled, anyway. Then, after I sat down in the front seat where I always do, the driver asked me, “Do you have a fare? Can I see it?” This shaved-headed and goateed moron has seen both me and my monthly bus pass dozens of times. I wondered what in blazes had gotten into him, and why I should have to put up with his bull****. Well, thanks to the Internet, he’ll now have the opportunity to explain his uncalled-for rudeness to a supervisor from RTD, because I’ve submitted an online complaint. NEVER have I caused any problem whatsoever in my years riding the SKIP, and occasionally other routes.
It’s a good thing my friend Wendy brightened my day, or I’d be in a dark mood for nothing. Anybody making $15-$20 or more per hour driving a bus should be grateful to have the job during this perpetual Bush/Obama Great Recession.