Charts and Graphs

Last summer, I moved into a new neighborhood, and that’s when I started to take a smaller commuter bus instead of a massively packed regular-route bus. It was then that I really started to notice riders, primarily because the same riders tend to be on that bus every single day.

The first person I ever took notice of on my new commuter bus was Charts and Graphs. Figured it was probably about time I wrote something about her. I first noticed her when she irritated me with her early-morning giddiness. Our bus driver had announced that it was his last day on the route, and she broke into happy, grateful applause, practically bouncing in her seat (not happy he was leaving, but instead happily applauding his greatness). I’m not sure why that irritated me, but it did.

Since then, what I’ve primarily noticed about Charts and Graphs is her love of, well, charts and graphs. Almost every day on the bus, when she’s not chatting with Nice Lady, C&G has a steno notebook out and is drawing up elaborate charts and graphs that make no sense (to me, anyway). I have often sat near her and sneaked peeks at her pad, and I never can figure out what the heck she is doing. Often, the charts will consist of multiple circles, overlapping, into which various things will be written. But though that makes one think instantly of a Venn Diagram (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venn_diagram), it’s not really what she’s doing. Things in the circles don’t seem to overlap with each other, or even relate to one another.

Other times, she will be scribbling things into a calendar book, but they aren’t calendar items — they’re more like to-do lists that don’t seem related to any particular date. I’ve seen her actually go through multiple calendar books — she fills one up with scribbles and then buys a new one.

At first I thought maybe she was just nuts. But a few times, I’ve seen her write logical lists of things. Things to remember to pack in her suitcase for a trip, financial goals to reach before retirement. The lists usually make sense. It’s the charts and graphs, some of which become quite elaborate, that are total mysteries to me.

I have to confess I’m really hoping that one day she sets her steno pad down on an empty seat and then forgets to pick it back up so I can go through it. Isn’t that awful of me? But by this time, after a year of watching Charts and Graphs scribble away, I’m absolutely dying for a chance to see what it is she’s doing that requires so MUCH note-taking and diagram-drawing. It doesn’t seem work-related. It seems like private life kind of stuff. What the heck is Charts and Graphs up to? I just can’t figure it out.

Anyway, now, a year later, Charts and Graphs no longer irritates me with her excessively sunny outlook. She’s become more of an enigma over time — less predictable, less cliche. Plus, the fact that Nice Lady likes her tells me she can’t be all bad or all crazy. Nice Lady, though very nice, doesn’t make friends with everybody on the bus (incidentally, she’s taken to calling me “dear” periodically now, which suggests to me she’s decided I’m a keeper). She’s discerning. I suppose that means Charts and Graphs is interesting to her as well. Strange what people do on buses to pass the time. Though I do prefer frenzied scribblings to nose picking. On the whole.

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