Silence that tightens your intestines or makes you want to laugh....
The shuttle-bus driver, white-haired, bespectacled, chewed on his cheeks and said nothing to the bus full of people.
He maneuvered the twenty-two passenger rig out of the hotel parking lot. First, he dangerously reversed. Hardly looking in the mirror. There was loud beeping. Second, he slammed it into drive and accelerated out of there. Now he slammed on the brakes at a stop sign.
He had said little so far. Only what he had to say. And like it was a recording:
"Now departing Gig Harbor. Next stop Seattle-Tacoma International Airport."
He might have mumbled, Here we go, to himself.
Who could have guessed that he had been on duty for four hours? It was just now getting light.
Now all the passengers, and nearly every seat was taken, were quiet in their passive frustration. I mean they were like twenty-five minutes late! People don't have that kind of time to throw around! I mean, where had he been?
Everybody was cold, impassive. Flights might be missed. And what then?
There was a great busying of cell phones. Many fingers swept and dabbed. And blood pressure was collectively high, and rising.
Now the shuttle-bus plummeted down the freeway on-ramp.
Then the white-topped driver breathed for the first time in maybe five minutes. He shook out the sleeves of his shuttle-bus driver windbreaker. He addressed the passengers:
"Ah, okay. Where do I begin?" This said in a frazzled and defensive tone, empathetically you might say: He too was stressed. They were--he and his passengers--in this late situation together.
"How about the fog? There was a back-up in Silverdale. In Bremerton, I had two passengers with ticketing problems. I had to make a phone call into base. Then, ha-ha, there was road construction and we were on back-roads. So, I apologize. But, considering all these unforeseen circumstances, I think we are doing pretty good. I am going to drive just as fast as I can without hopefully attracting the attention of my friend Mr. Law. Again, thank you for your patience, and good morning. Next stop the airport.
In row four--the rows were not numbered but he was four rows back--a man, a young man, but not so young, pink cheeked, in a black sweater: a man was wedged next to a girl who was sleeping with buds in her ears and a big pink-cased phone clasped in her hand in what seemed a pose of rigor mortis. Indeed, he himself had a phone and was texting or trying to text his fiancée:
Bubumpiest ride I3ve ever bbeen onon. Wor2see tthaan that tuime onn bubus tpqs in mount5ainss of Ccosta Rica. Lliike 33rd word cuntree.