On the walk to the bus this morning it started raining. I never know when I catch the 8:30 bus exactly when it’s going to get there, and last week I missed a bus to work, so I didn’t want to stop and pull out my jacket on the walk. I waited till I got to the bus shack.
In the bus shack was a native guy in maybe his late forties, sitting on the bench. He was wearing a black suit with beat-up loafers and a black t-shirt that appeared to have a starfield on it. A wooden disc with a bear on it hanging around his neck. I opened up my bag and pulled out my jacket, and this guy was watching me, waiting to start a conversation.
“Yeah, it’s a good thing you’ve got a jacket,” he said. “You can get sick in the rain.”
“Yep you can,” I replied, putting my music on pause.
“Pneumonia. You don’t want that.”
“No I don’t. That’s why I brought my jacket.”
“Yep. Good thing. More than that too. All sorts of diseases from the rain. You know, cause of how much pollution there is in it now. You walk out in that and you get sick.”
I kind of nodded, noncommittal, and checked if I could see my bus.
“Yeah,” he continued, “you don’t want to mess around with the rain. I know.” He sounded self-consciously “wise” saying this. Like this was one of those things he knew he could tell a skinny little white boy. “I know a few things. I’m 57, you know. Don’t smoke.”
I had to nod again. “You look good.” He did. I would not have pegged him as being older than my mom.
“Yeah. How old are you?”
“That old? My son’s thirty one. He lives in Vancouver. He’s a fisherman. And builds houses. What’s your name?”
I told him and we shook hands.
“I’m Charlie Bronson.”
I stopped. Not that I thought he was Charles Bronson, but the resemblance was why I felt like I’d recognized him. Because of this I completely missed his real name. “Charlie’s just what they call me,” he laughed.
And then the bus came and I left, saying “Nice to meet you.” It was still raining and he remained sitting inside, waiting for the next person to come along.bus bus stop charles bronson conversation disease jacket pneumonia rain resemblance winnipeg