Friday The 13th

Every public group of people has one. Well, at least every random group of commuters into Manhattan that I’ve ever been a part of does. Along with Young Intense Guy and Cranky Immigrant Guy and Shriveled Old Lady there’s always Chatty Old Guy.
You know the one. The slow moving guy with the bright eyes and the perpetual half-smile who always says “good morning;” who always has a story about the weather or the grandkids or a gentle kvetch about the latest fare hike or gas price. The COG helps you kill the time until the bus shows up and everyone settles in their own private Idaho for the trip into the city.
This morning was no different. SOL was trying to figure out if the $5 increase on the weekly ticket meant she should be bold and buy a monthly ticket. She should, of course, as buying four weekly tickets costs about 20% more than buying a monthly…but this would be a change, and that’s something that SOLs avoid if at all possible. CIG was complaining about how hot it was at his job site, and as he’s a welder on a construction project I can only imagine how hot it really gets for him.
COG arrived and worked the crowd as usual, saying his “good mornings” and “boy that breeze feels nice-s” before taking his place in line with the other five or six of us. He told SOL a story in a somewhat louder than usual voice, and it was a bit more risque than his usual offerings as well, but it was interesting none the less and the few minutes awaiting the bus passed not disagreeably.
I settled in to my usual seat against the window, CIG a few rows behind me, COG and YIG more or less catty corner across the aisle and SOL in front of them in her usual place of honor in the front row. I dozed on and off for the next few minutes as we made our last stop before the run into the city, and the bus filled with its usual assortment of construction workers and early-rising office types like myself.
As we trundled up the Parkway I kept hearing a rather loud voice…COG. It was odd. He had never done this in the six or seven weeks I’d been riding the bus with him. He was fidgeting about, kicking the seat in front of him, talking aloud to no one in particular, repeating the same story over and over, grabbing the back of his head, wincing in obvious pain and dropping the occasional F-Bomb. SOL started repeatedly asking him if he was ok, and his half muttered “yes” convinced none of us. She got the driver’s attention, and he was our normal driver and thus knew COG well, and he became concerned to the point where he pulled the bus to the side of the road right past the tolls on the entrance to the Turnpike and called for State Police and an ambulance. COG was not right, not well, not at all.
Within five minutes the next bus came and took most of us, myself included, to continue on in to the city. As we exited the bus some of the other passengers offered their diagnoses to the driver: “stroke” and “brain embolism” and “cranial bleeding” were some of the phrases I heard uttered as we changed from one bus to another amidst the blank stares of those folks on the second bus who knew only that some trouble of ours had inconvenienced them. We drove off into the rising hot June sun, leaving our original driver and COG alone to face what ever demons were tormenting him on that sad Friday the 13th morning.
I never learned his name.
I hope to see him again.

11 Responses to “Friday The 13th”

  1. Erica says:

    I hope you see him again, too.

  2. greg newson says:

    Mr. Bingley:That was a very profound story.Had a little John Steinbeck flavor to it.
    Happy Father’s Day.You’re good ,dude.

  3. I hope he’s okay, it sounds serious.

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    It sure seemed to be, Ken.

  5. ricki says:

    I also hope you see him again. And I hope, once he got to the hospital, they were able to find some friends/family of his to come be with him.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    His car was gone from the parking lot when we got back there Friday night; I hope that means he took it.

  7. Kate P says:

    Yikes. I’m hoping the absence of the car means what you hope it means, too.

  8. greg newson says:

    If his car was gone,it would at least mean he had
    close friends or family who were in contact with him
    and picked it up at the station.

  9. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, thank goodness. It turns out he is diabetic and he was having a low blood sugar attack. He was rather, um forcefully reminded by everyone on the bus this morning to always eat something for breakfast and have something sugared with him…

  10. Cullen says:

    Whew. Glad that it was something relatively minor.

  11. Julie says:

    Minor, yes, but I saw this the other day: a recent hypoglycemic event (which is what COG had) can lead to heart attack, stroke, even death for a diabetic. (ref
    So brainsmack him for me, ok? 🙂

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