That first day, the bus was only partially full when I climbed aboard. I had one of the double seats to myself, but eventually someone plunked down beside me, a chatty morning person with solutions to all of the world’s problems. The next day a woman on the seat beside me applied make-up and doused herself with perfume. And more disturbing, several passengers informed me that I have a face that reminds them of someone owing them money. By the time we’d arrive downtown it was standing room only.
While it’s true that I’m quite a chatterbox, in the morning I need a few hours and several cups of coffee to rev up. I just wanted to be left alone to enjoy a quiet ride. I started bringing books with me; surely I’d be left alone if my nose were buried in a book. But this was not the case. Common comments were:
“What are you reading?”
“Is that book any good?”
“I liked the movie better.”
“I read that; the woman’s uncle was the murderer.”
One morning I opened my briefcase to pull out a new action adventure, but in my haste I’d accidentally grabbed our dusty copy of the Bible.
As an art history enthusiast, I was familiar with most of the stories, thanks to great painters’ fascination with the Bible, but in truth I’d never actually read it. With nothing else to occupy me, I began to do so. I started with the beginning…literally.
Halfway to work I looked up and noticed something odd. The bus, as usual, was filled to capacity but the seat beside me remained vacant. I watched as additional passengers clamored aboard, eying the empty seat beside me but looking warily at the book in my hand before moving to the back of the bus, where they preferred to stand.
This went on for several weeks. I assumed my fellow passengers were afraid I'd look up from my Bible and start quoting scriptures at them. So long as that Bible was in my hands or on my lap I was spared being disturbed by someone sitting down beside me. No one prattled in my ear or made my eyes water with their perfume. No one said I resembled a person who owed them money.
No wonder they call it “The Good Book!”