The Good & The Bad of Jumping Off The Bus Six Blocks Early

It didn’t really dawn on me until the Circulator had already pulled away, but I was at 14th & P when I really wanted to be at 13th & K. This is what I get for falling asleep on the bus, I thought as I pulled up NextBus on my phone and confirmed that the next bus was coming in precisely way too long to wait if I was going to get to Penn Quarter in time for a bite to eat before meeting up with my favorite suicidal blond for her first and my fifth viewing of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

I shouldn’t have even been on the Circulator. There were a few things I needed at Target, but on the bus, I decided that jumping off the bus to run in and pick them up would’ve cut my available time too short, so I opted to push the errands back until Thursday.

And then I jumped off – what – five, six blocks early?

The good news is that I was wearing the shoes that I actually put the heel supports in. This is because my left heel’s been hurting me since early December and I still haven’t made a doctor’s appointment to get it looked at. I would have actually done it last week except my health care card had expired over the fall and I can’t locate the new one, so now I’m waiting for a replacement card to arrive. I should just make the appointment anyway, right? I will – tomorrow. Promise.

In any case, nice day, a little brisk but I was wearing a sweatshirt, so I started walking.

Straight down 14th until K when I veered east and down 13th. Crossing I Street at 13th I saw a thin figure emerging from the building on the NW corner. Skinny. My height. Beard. As we walked towards each other I became convinced that we knew each other. And as his face sort of had this “Wait, is that–?” expression forming I knew who it was.

Back when I started at Borders — way back in April of 2008 (which, let me tell you, I never thought I’d miss that front of store Cherry Blossom merch table … but I do) — there was a stack of Master Replicas Star Wars light sabers gathering dust down in the music section. After I’d started, and moved to a position as a bookseller from loss prevention, me and this guy — Bakhti — would open two of the boxes (which had already been previously opened) and duel each other (but only, I swear, when it was slow and there were no customers).

Let me tell you – those sabres were fucking strong. There were times I’d be swinging for Bakhti and he’d jump out of the way and I’d smash that thing full force into a shelf full of DVDs and the blade wouldn’t actually shatter into million of pieces.

Anyway, so we embraced in the middle of 13th Street, then I backtracked back across to the west side of the road. He was speed walking to a quick errand at a bank a few blocks south and I kept pace with him catching up on what was new. Bakhti came over to the DC from one of the former Soviet Union satellite countries — one of the ‘stans, but I can’t remember which one. Possibly Uzbekistan. When I worked with him, his wife was still back overseas. Since he left Borders (fall of ’08, I think, or early ’09), his wife was finally able to come over, they moved to Arlington (boo), and they’ve got an 11 month old son.

And I wouldn’t have even seen him if I hadn’t jumped off the bus five or six blocks before I should have.

I made it to Penn Quarter in time to grab a bite before meeting up with my friend for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Once again, a damn good film. And it really should have won Best Adapted Screenplay Sunday night.