Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD.
[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks! And know these accounts are true … without exaggeration!]
Trapped aboard a slow-moving, oft-stopping Chicago Transit Authority bus, I hear a mouse-sized commuter squeak, “Next stop, please” to the large bus driver.
The bus is sizeable, yes, clarifies Screen Three, but the driver herself is l-a-r-g-e.
Sizeable bus, still piloted by l-a-r-g-e driver, continues its plodding, a lumbering leviathan among poky pedestrians.
“Oh, well,” the mouse peeps and sits in meek resignation. I must help her.
My vigilant “hunter” eyes, which have scanned Chi-town streets despite endless questions from six screens –
– now survey the bus interior. Within moments my pupils – students they are, indeed! – focus upon a cord with a little red ball attached.
Ah, says Screen Two, reminiscing, a point of familiarity.
I smile, recalling younger days and Erie Lackawanna trains departing Summit, New Jersey. Back then, polite tugs upon single white cords signaled engineers – all named Casey Jones, no doubt – that the chugging beast should be slowed to spew its ingested occupants onto lifeless cement platforms.
I leap to my feet and give not timid tug but yeoman yank upon the flame-colored sphere.
My world transmogrifies. All about me, bodies gain extraordinary abilities. This one flies, that one buckles, others lose half-full (half-empty? asks Three) coffee cups.
Nature, comments Four, just struck the laws of gravity from her judicial books.
Even I fight to keep my once-solid footing in the rear of the bus, deciding that placement is far superior to being launched through the windshield.
[Crashing through front windshields is a feat I will accomplish years later with the unwelcomed assistance of a Pakistani-piloted white Toyota. But let’s not speak of that here.]
“G” forces contort my expression. Disregard them, barks Six. Heed the “She” force, a woman rather intent on misshaping your face.
This bus driver models a twisted grimace, lips having just kissed the oversized steering wheel. As she writhes to free herself of the pilot’s seat, I see past her shoulder a small sign: “Driver carries no cash.”
What about guns? peeps Two.
In guttural tones, our driver – I say “our” because suddenly I have a great need for a sense of community, an “us against her” mentality – states I have no intellect whatsoever. Then she, pushing off the many items yet spilling upon her, heavily stands to her feet –
A giant among men, quakes Two.
– and, much larger than she was moments ago, makes her unsteady but unwavering way toward my frozen frame.
“You did this,” she says, her hand sweeping grandly across the disheveled bus and piled passengers to reinforce those three accusing syllables.
I look at the little red ball as it bounces demurely against a sign in screaming 48-point italics: EMERGENCY STOP ONLY. “Actually,” I nervously say –
“Get off!” is roared, the words practically stamping themselves on my face.
Hurry! whispers Six. Hurry, or she will assist your getting off this bus, and it will not be with folding doors open.
I do not plead my position, offer oral observations, seek sojourners’ solaces. I just exit. And though I fear what a glance backward may reveal, glance I do.
So many people, muses Three, surveying the roughed-up riders. Differing ethnicities, genders and status. Yet all single-minded in their unbridled hostility toward you.
Remarkable, really, commends One. What the United Nations cannot do – unite the nations – you have done in a single deed.
Postscript: Safely off the bus through my own efforts, I shakily place one foot down after another and reach my intended building. In recovering gallantry, I open the weighted-glass door for a well-dressed young woman.
“Pig!” she declares. “I don’t need some man to hold a door.” I release my grip and the heavy door swiftly closes. My abrupt antagonist tugs mightily, barely re-opening the door, sneers and steps into the building.
Chicago isn’t that big, states Screen One. Adds Three, And everybody rides the bus. You will meet her again.
“So when we do, then what?”
Tug the cord. Pull the ball. Grab the gusto!
* * * * *
Blackie’s Weekly Wonders
The trouble I could have missed by staying at the bus stop …
These days, I just catch the magic bus