This is what happens when I miss the bus Part I — The Mall

Everything happens for a reason, right?

This morning I was attempting to take a bus home to go to a Dentist appointment.

It was a very simple plan.

Take the 7am bus from the Fitchburg Intermodal Center to Gardner and then walk home, get ready, visit Dad, and go to my appointment.

But nothing in my life is simple, and what kind of life would it be if you don’t have at least one great adventure a day?

At 5am I bid adieu to Monsieur Fenerbahce and walked over to Analia’s house. After Garris left for work the two of us had an incredibly inspiring conversation for over an hour and at around 6:50 I put my hair in a ponytail, grabbed my backpack and walked to the bus station.

I was sitting outside waiting for the Gardner bus and at the last minute a bus pulled up in front of me with bright orange letters in a scrolling marquee screaming WHITNEY FIELD MALL.

Obviously it was a sign that I was supposed to go pick up my phone at the mall catch a later bus to Gardner. After a short ride we made it to the mall and at when the bus driver stopped I was the only one who got off of the bus. I thought it was a little strange, but got off any way.

I walked up to the door and pulled it.


As I surveyed the almost empty parking lot and listened to the birds chirping loudly I realized that in my haste I had forgotten the very important fact that most of the world is not up and running at 7am. Certainly not the mall.

I peeked inside the doors and saw all of the chairs in the food court neatly tucked around the table, the clean floors and the obvious lack of people.

I pulled out the cellphone that ATT had lent me for the past week while my phone was being repaired and looked up the times of the mall – 10am to 9pm.

Taped on the inside of the glass window was a color copy of the bus schedule.


next bus?

8 AM

Perhaps it was because of the beautiful night and morning I had that I wasn’t too worried (maybe I was slightly delirious from exhaustion and lack of food), whatever the case I decided that I wasn’t going to get angry and anxious about the wait, but rather enjoy the beautiful morning.

We had such insane weather yesterday — tornadoes everywhere and it’s been 90degrees for the last week, but this morning was perfect. The inland after a storm.

It was bright and sunny but there was a strong breeze. It was like the world was celebrating the fact that the storm was over. The birds were everywhere and chirping loudly and everything smelled so fresh.

I took off my backpack and sat down on the curb in front of the door. I pulled out my grapefruit and Malcolm’s copy of Dharma Bums and got ready to enjoy the silence.

I had just started peeling my grapefruit when a big, white, “Dial a Mart” van pulled up in front of me. The van stopped a few feet ahead of me.

Was this the bus?

Our public transportation is kind of a joke.

I walked over to the side of the van, determined to not miss what was potentially my ride back.

“Excuse me,” I began. “Do you know when the next bus to Fitchburg is?” a woman in a turqoise colored shirt and sunglasses turned to me.

“I think they come every hour, so probably 8.” she replied.
I thanked her and went back over to the curb.

For the second time I sat down on the curb, grateful that my white tennis skirt was really a pair of shorts, and that I was smart enough to dress for walking around.

The side door of the van slid open and clicked to a familiar stop.
An older man got out of the van – cane first – and slowly walked to the doors to exactly where I had been standing not two minutes earlier.

The van drove away.

I was feeling friendly (as usual) and walked over to the old man.

“Good Morning!”

“Morning.” he said, with a chuckle that awkwardly asked my intentions.

I told him I had taken the wrong bus and now I was stuck waiting outside until the right bus came to bring me back.

“What are you doing here so early?” I asked him.

“Here to walk around the mall.” he said.

I was excited to have accidentally stumbled into this piece of interesting subculture that makes New England the crazy interesting place that it is. I’ve seen old people walking around the mall occasionally of course, and heard of people who walk around the mall, but I have never had the opportunity to experience how it works.

“Nice! How long have you been walking for?”

12 or 13 years was his response. I asked him what his name was and he lifted up his cane to show me a white sticker with small black lettering.

“Ren..Renzi? Renato Renzi?”

He made a joke about carrying the cane with his name on it so he would always remember who he was. I stuck out my hand and introduced myself, “Vanessa Lynch. Nice to meet you.”

“So how did you actually start walking through the mall like this?” I asked him. He couldn’t hear me too well, and every few questions I asked he would let out that confused little chuckle that was pretending to agree with me but was just confusion.

I asked again, a little louder.

There’s not much I enjoy more in life than listening to people tell me their complete, unadulterated life stories. Renato gave me the shortened version of his:

———————-Ditto {One of these days, when I have time, I will finish writing his story.*}

Peter used to be a fire Marshall in Leominster, now he’s the Marshall for the mall. An incredibly sweet man, we met because as  he was coming to unlock the mall doors in the morning he noticed me sitting on the curb by myself.

“Waiting for a bus on the sidewalk?” he asked, laughing.

it was just a nice morning. Friendly New England Conversation EveryWheres.

“Actually, that is exactly what I’m doing :)

He opened the door and went inside with the walkers. I stood up and put on my backpack, grabbed my turquoise duffel bag and stood with my back leaning on the mall entrance’s support beam.

He came back out: “Ah, you moved?”

“Of course.” I said, “You made me feel all humiliated about sitting on the sidewalk.” I smiled so he knew that it was a joke.

He put his hand on my arm and laughed loudly.

That was the beginning of the 2nd of 3 memorable conversations I had on Thursday morning.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s