Da Bear Bus

Wow, did I get a great big happy surprise on the bus this morning. It was The Bear! The Bear was back on the bus this morning! The Bear! THE BEAAAAAARRRRRR!

Who is The Bear, you are wondering? The Bear is, quite simply, my favorite bus passenger in the world. There is a certain je ne sais quoi about The Bear that simply radiates happiness and kindness. I am immediately soothed when I am in his presence. He’s the kind of guy who makes you think, “If I ever have to run into a huge man in a dark alley at night, I really sincerely hope it’s THIS huge man.”

When The Bear is on the bus, I know I am going to have a great day. There is no way not to end the morning commute on a happy note when you’ve had the pleasure of being seated near The Bear.

Now, despite my obvious affection for him, I confess I didn’t actually notice The Bear was gone for several weeks. In fact, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen The Bear since before Christmas. I’ve been so busy watching others these days (like Bookman, who has been on a curious John Le Carre kick the last several weeks), I didn’t really realize we were missing someone. But when The Bear came loping down the aisle this morning to take his usual seat (center, back bench), and I realized how much I had truly missed seeing him, it was hard for me not to literally stand up and cheer.

God, I love The Bear. If I weren’t married, and he weren’t married (he’s wearing a ring, anyway), I would flirt shamelessly with him. Shamelessly, people. Because The Bear has all the qualities I love in a guy — he’s enormous (tall and rotund — I cannot resist this combination), he’s got lots of fuzzy hair on his head and his face, he’s got gigantic hands, he listens to music with the volume at a reasonable level, etc. Everything about The Bear makes me happy. His clothes. His facial expressions. Even his ponytail brings me joy, and I usually hate long hair on men.

But the thing I love the most about The Bear? The fact that he’s a people-watcher like me. You see, The Bear takes his seat in the back of the bus, headphones on, and then spends the entire ride very openly watching everybody around him. He’s not as clandestine about it as I try to be — if you look up at the right moment, you WILL catch The Bear eyeing you, which is something I try to avoid myself when I’m on the ocular prowl, so to speak. I don’t want people to know I’m studying them, looking at the books they’re reading, thinking about their lives. I suppose it could seem kind of creepy, in some ways, even though that’s certainly not how it feels from my perspective. I’m just fascinated by my fellow bus passengers. Utterly fascinated. That’s all there really is to it.

But The Bear? He just seems friendly and curious. Not like he’s making any mental notes about what he sees — just that he’s thoroughly enjoying the experience of having us all gathered around him for twenty-five minutes on his morning commute to the daily grind.

Life for The Bear seems peaceful and gracious. It is a simple, pure, honest pleasure to be seated near him. In the back. On the bus. On a gray Thursday morning. With the rain slowly pattering on the steamy glass windows behind our heads.

I’m glad you’re back, Bear Man. You have been dearly, dearly missed.

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