Back on the 81 Throwback Edition to Eagle Rock Plaza tonight. The dude in the dusty wifebeater is not riding tonight. Maybe's he's waiting at a stop down the line and we'll pick him up along the way.
What is that feeling I get when the 81 finally arrives, after the 10, the 84, the 90, and all other manner of impostors have passed me by? Each would-be 81 emerges from the distance, raising hopes, only to dash them when the headsign finally becomes legible. (Longtime fans of the OG may remember our screed against that infamous impostor, the dreaded V train.) But always, eventually, comes the one that does not disappoint.
The feeling I have when the 81 finally appears, and my eyes scanning for disappointment find none? Something like relief, or gratitude, perhaps recognition. The feeling that you have once again found the place where you belong. The bus headsign scrolling "81 Figueroa - Eagle Rock Plaza" represents something more than just the bus route. That headsign represents home, relief, a respite of a few hours from the critical watch of supervisors and opposing counsel, from the unrelenting requirement not to fail, not to falter, not to be indecisive or weak. A time to try to be "yourself", to piece together whatever you can remember of yourself after years of bending to the disciplines of the workplace.
Wow, we are really trucking down the 110 in the 81 Throwback Edition: we must be doing about 70. You might remember that the Octopus and his fellow 81 passengers nearly ended up at the great bus stop in the sky in our last episode on the Throwback Edition. The driver of the Throwback Edition seems a bit too daring for municipal bus service.
[LATER]: I had an interview with the driver of the 81 tonight! Will post that shortly.