Hungry like the wolves

You may not believe me, but 5 days out of the week, I do battle.  Public transportation battle.  And believe me, it's one of the most intense types of battling you can do.  You don't believe me, do you?  Well believe what I write next then re-read the first sentence and believe.  Believe me, it's unbelievable.
It all starts when I hop on the #13 bus every morn to travel to my respective career.  The ride is always relatively quiet and uneventful.  Passengers get on and take their seats, using every ounce of their social stamina to avoid smiling or making eye contact.  They cough and read, and the bus jerkily rumbles on.  It all works like a clock that is working really well.  That is, until we get to 3rd and Bell.  

As you all know, when a bus reaches a stop, the customary line of action is to allow passengers to get off FIRST, then have waiting passengers get ON.  3rd and Bell, however, does things a little differently.  When the bus driver yells aloud "Next stop, 3rd and Bell!" I make fists with my hands and grit my teeth.  I perch on my tagged bus seat in the same way Michael Johnson did on his starting blocks at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.  When the bus stops and those side doors slide open, it's battle time.  

I explode out of my chair and hit the top of the steps, only to be greeted by a sea of expressionless faces clawing their way towards the small crevice of hope that just folded open.  They stare up and begin to snarl.  I take a deep  breath and begin to cut a swath through the pack of lumbering souls who thirst only for the inexplicable comfort of a recently vacated tagged bus seat:    

The neatly dressed accountant with fancy gloves and a rolled up New Yorker poses no threat - we exchange small push blows and steely stares before I leave him behind.  

Next up is the pink-haired, Hello Kitty-backpack-wearing, disenchanted teenager who skipped school to go to Hot Topic downtown and smoke a cigarette.  She poses a much more dangerous threat, never looking up from the display screen of her pink 2 GB iPod Nano.  We shoulder tackle each other, but her extremely light weight coupled with the laws of kinetic force shift her to the side. 

Finally, I find myself standing before the final obstacle between myself and the crisp refreshing air of freedom.  This mysterious vagabond is wearing a hooded jacket over several layers of sweat pant material and a heather gray 1996 Seattle Supersonics Western Conference Champions t-shirt.  He's unphased by my quick movements,  choosing to simply stand in the way and stare at me with glossed-over eyes and a slightly opened mouth.  Lucky for me, he's decided to use the hand rails to stabilize himself.  I quickly dart underneath his arm, finding myself immediately surrounded by the Horde.  

They pay no attention to me, their eyes fixated on their final destination.  Their collective shuffling turns my situation into a football push pad drill.  After several shoves and reroutes (and a few expletives), I break free and discover open sidewalk.  I bend over to catch my breath.

This morning, I've won the battle.  But there is no time to celebrate.  Another battle awaits somewhere around 5:00PM.                                           

Cirque du Kinda Juggling

Do you remember where you kinda learned how to juggle?  Because I remember where you kinda learned.  You kinda learned to juggle where everyone kinda learns:  3rd Grade Physical Education class.  

If I remember correctly, you still remember that day as if it were yesterday.  It was the day that your high-wire dreams of circus performance as a lucrative profession came crashing down to the safety net-less ground of reality, shattering both knee caps and a C7 vertebrae.  Let me recount it for you. 1,2,3,4,5.  Now let me retell it for you (I think I can still remember):
Your class entered the gym (single file of course).  Normally there was some sort of equipment laid out on the floor that provided an ever-so-subtle hint as to what you were doing that day (basketballs for Basketball, jump ropes for Jumpy Rope, paint rollers for Parking Lot Paint Time, etc.).  But on that day, there were just two large cardboard boxes in the center of the gym.  "Whoa dude," said a classmate, "I wonder what's in those boxes."  

"I dunno," you cooly replied, "but I hope whatever is in them is cowabunga."  

Your gym teacher sat your class down and explained that you would be learning a new game, called "juggling." She enlightened you on the general mechanics, opened the first box, and pulled forth what you would later call the Great Deceiver:  colored handkerchiefs.

She passed out three colored handkerchiefs to each person (You got Magenta, Cyan, and Fatigue).  You tossed up the first handkerchief, then the second, then the third.  Then you caught and threw back up the first handkerchief.  A wry smile came to your face and your eyes widened.  

"OMG," you thought to yourself, "I'm totally JUGGLING."  Suddenly thoughts of big tops and dating a clown person named Borpo began racing through your mind.  But before those thoughts could cross the finish line, the gym teacher opened the second box, and with it, absolute devastation.

Tennis balls.  Fun, innocent looking tennis balls.  3 were issued to each student.  It only took 7.5 seconds with the tennis balls to realize that you'd never be a professional juggler.  Broken-hearted, you threw your tennis balls at the student next to you and walked a walk of sorrow and disappointment.  "Screw this, I'm going to get a square pizza from the cafeteria."

And that's kinda exactly how you kinda learned to juggle.  Kinda