Turn your head into the pillow, groan, and wait for the night’s stiffness to stop. Business as usual. The first thought is make coffee and light a smoke but you remember there’s half a coffee still in the office from the night before. Easy does it: you slip into your track bottoms and runners, checking for sore knees, a back spasm or god forbid, a swollen ankle – all signs you have reached middle age and the weather is changing. Out on the balcony, drawing heavily on a cigarette, there is barely enough light at this time of year. However, I can see two layers of clouds, one higher than the other – the lower one is moving in a different direction; rain clouds. I better take an umbrella today.
Dressed and out the door the rain has started. At first it is fine drizzle, but before long a steady downpour is underway. My umbrella is good and solid – for golf. I don’t golf much anymore , come to think of it, playing in wet weather is not very comfortable. My shoes are getting wet as are my trousers below the knees. I am trying to hide as best I can under the umbrella, letting the dome cover my back from the water. It’s a short walk to the bus stop but I hurry anyway as the route feels longer today. I try and avoid the puddles.
Fortunately several buses travel along the main road on their way into town. It’s a reasonably short walk in the summer but if the weather is uncertain I hop on any of the passing transits. That’s what I tell myself at least. Actually, I prefer the comfort of a shorter ride at the beginning of my day than a brisk walk. This way I don’t have to overheat, especially in the summer months with the humidity making things sticky. It’s too wet to smoke. I can see a bus coming, snaking its way towards me, stopping at a traffic light and falling in behind a yellow school bus which thankfully turns right. You don’t want to be stuck behind a school bus, they stop every four or five blocks along the way with lights flashing and stop sign out.
The terminal comes into view as we round the last corner. I notice the canopies intended to protect riders are not holding back the rain that drives in on an angle, making the concrete platforms wet and slick. The bus comes to a stop, but not before passengers start to move, several waiting at the door, bags and packages in hand, collected from seats where they held new riders at bay – forcing some to stand like myself. I am in no hurry and prefer to wait until someone lets me go ahead of them, feet shuffling in step with the person in front of me, eyes down for the inevitable step off. Turning, I cross paths with passengers entering the building as they move to other buses, other destinations. This is my stop. I will not be travelling further. I open my umbrella again and make my way across the bus lanes, heading for the street. Reaching the sidewalk I light a cigarette outside the no-smoking signs of the terminal. Once again I fall into step. Up ahead I can see City Hall. Business as usual.