Zones of comfort

As has been the case this winter, it was cold out in the wee early hours of the morning while I was waiting for the bus. I just wanted the bus to get here, so I could be warm until I got out and walked the several blocks to my office. I was dressed warmly enough; as warm as possible. But still the chill crept in around the seams, and up the sleeves and down the back of my neck and on my cheeks.

I’ve been really cold this winter. Yes, I’m probably complaining a lot about it. But damn, I’m cold. When someone touches my hand they’re shocked. I just can’t seem to warm up.

I’ve joked that maybe I died and didn’t know it, and I’m now a zombie. I will admit that brains seem more delicious to me. But mostly because fresh brains would be warm, dammit.

So there I was, at the bus stop on that cold morning last week, waiting for the bus just for a chance to warm up.

It showed up, I stepped up, showed my bus pass, and went to sit down. My stop was early enough and near the start of the route, so I was the only passenger.

And the bus was still cold. As cold as outside had been. And I wasn’t even out of the wind, at least, because the driver had the fans on full blast.

Ah, I thought, he’s got the fans on. Soon enough, the bus will warm up.

But three stops later, and the fans were still blowing frigid air. Arctic air. Nanook of the North couldn’t take this kind of cold air. Other passengers had boarded and they all seemed resigned to the cold. And they all had noticed it. One girl who often knits while riding pulled out her knitting, and then had to stop, her hands so chilly in the blasting frozen wind.

I knuckled down and pulled in my arms and legs to conserve warmth. I rode it out. No use saying anything to the driver; the ride was only 20-25 minutes. Soon enough I’d make the walk to my building and have a chance to warm up.

My stop approached. I rang the bell. As the driver pulled up to the stop, I walked up to the front door.

…and into a tropical zone.

The area where the driver sat was warm. Very warm. Hot, even. I lingered there as long as I could, soaking up the heat. I did not say anything to the driver. What could I say? Was he aware that, after 20+ minutes of running the fans, the middle of the bus was still freezing?

Or was he just passive-aggressive?