Once every couple of months or so, I step through the massive doors of a window shiny high-rise in Seattle. I walk past the center desk and over to the elevator. I push the up button, wait a depressing long while, and then step on.
The elevator is usually crammed with people—old people in suits and ladies wearing scarfs that scream bright colors—and I end up crammed in the middle. I always push the 12th floor button, only to realize it’s the 14th floor I need. The door finally opens, and the fragrance odor mice scurry off, oblivious.
I turn to my left and head to the desk where a scandalously clad secretary sits. I check in, and she hands me a clipboard with a survey attached. I fill it out, 1:30 pm hits, and my doctor greets me in the waiting room with the standard:
“Hey, Mr. Luplow, great to see you…thank you for coming in.”
“No problem,” I say.
Now, what you’ll want to know is of the deranged bus ride that gets me to this point.
It’s the same thing every time: I sit at the bus stop and pretend to be deaf so no one will talk to me. I look at my watch every few minutes, hoping it will read 11:38—no luck—I slump back into my mental stupor. And all the while the rain never stops and the voices of the crazies next to me continue to grasp for my attention.
When the bus arrives, I glance at the weathered blue and white paint that holds the memories of what it has seen and climb on; each step pulls me deeper into its misery. I scan my Orca card and make my way to the very, very back to a window seat.
At this point, I enter into a dream-like state where nothing seems to surprise me. I remain a spectator as I peer through the fog and watch these peculiar ghosts on the bus:
A blind man sitting next to me asks me where we are, but I don’t know—I’m lost in my mind—so I tell him I’m blind.
A few rows in front, a woman sits knitting a scarf. She carries on a complete conversation with herself. And when I think I’ve had enough, she eats an orange, throws the peels in the isle, and curses at them. (People, this is why LSD is bad: the damage just isn’t all that attractive.)
Later, an elderly woman sits next to me, pulls out a bottle of perfume, and sprays it: it misses her, hitting me. A giant, lubricated cloud of smelly matter attacks me with a force that shatters me where I sit. The label reads: Lavender Smiles and Cheerful Rain. !!What the HELL!!
And to make the trip worse, the driver is insane. He fidgets in his seat as if ants were crawling through his veins. His face tweaks out as he crinkles his nose and blinks his eyes with excessive force. I never know what is going to happen. (I can handle reckless: I know a gal who drives in a hasty rave to the point where I feel compelled to send my parents an “I love you” text message, but at least she knows what she is doing.)
The whole bus ride blends together to form one, epic black hole of mental demise, fueled by others’ idiosyncrasies that help me take my mind off my own of.
“9th and Howell!” the driver shouts, “Don’t forget your valuables.”
I step off the bus, walk two blocks north, and up some steps. And there I stand, facing to large glass doors.