Honestly Put.

I catch an early morning bus to work from Arlington VA into D.C. each weekday. Generally, I see the same faces riding every morning, each of us zombies of the morning rituals and habits that funnel us to the same vehicle, at the same time, day after day. We read papers, chit-chat with other riders, take quick naps, or pretend to take quick naps so as not to have to chit-chat with other riders.  Primarily the same people, same seats, every day.

One morning, however, in the seat usually occupied by a woman who finds it necessary to read her weekly novel out loud, sat a newcomer. He sat in an aisle seat, the window seat filled with his backpack, a jacket, and what appeared to be one shoe. He leaned forward as much as he could without hitting the seat ahead of him, head in his hands. He would occasionally sit up to look out of the window, glance at the other riders, or stare straight ahead. He talked to himself a little bit, but I could never understand much more than a word or two now and then. He did not appear to be having a good day so far, at that early hour. At most I could hear an occasional sigh, a “Good Lord”, or a curse word now and then.

But towards the end of our commute as we neared the final stop, the man sat bolt upright and loudly and clearly said “Lord, give me Patience today, because if you give me Strength I’m just going to rob that liquor store on the corner of 14th and P.

Now that was an honest, praying man.

Stuart M. Perkins



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249 responses to “Honestly Put.

  1. Never commuted, but this fella you overheard would surely get my attention. Listening wins every-time!

  2. That’s something else. I suppose knowing what specifically to ask for is key.

  3. scumlikeuschurch

    and that’s why thank God i don’t have to commute.

  4. Oh my Gosh, I love this. I’m on the tube (in London) for an hour four days a week, and you would not believe the things I see.
    You write beautifully by the way.

  5. Oh thank you for sharing….so funny! and great.

  6. Yep, riding the train (or bus or el) can bring out the weirdos, although I know that isn’t solely the point. The power of prayer…that may be the point…

  7. I enjoyed your writing. Sad that this gentleman only had one shoe. Thank the Lord he knew from Whom to seek help. Thank you for your sharing.

  8. No doubt 14th and P Liquor Store angels were called into action!

  9. Enjoyed this read. My bus commutes are more to do with seeing different people everyday and not passing the same route in two consecutive days.

  10. juana2storm

    That was a fun story I really laughed

  11. oldpoet56

    I like it, good work.

  12. Love your writing! I will be learning a lot from you!

  13. You have finished on a bit of a ‘cliff hanger’ methinks – what happened next? A jolly good read no less!

  14. lorieb

    funny story!

  15. I love the idea of the woman who sits on the bus reading her bus out aloud … can you give us some more information on this? It’s the kind of ‘small’ idea that could turn into a ‘big’ idea for a theatre piece for my degree. – awilson94@hotmail.co.uk

    • I hit the wrong key apparently, sorry! Anyway, there’s not much to say about the woman who reads out loud. I see her most mornings on the bus but not every morning. I’ve never seen her without a book in her hand and most of the time she is definitely reading out loud. She isn’t reading TO anyone which is clear because many of the regulars sit in seats away from her so they can chat with other commuters. She’s well dressed, seems like a professional of some sort, and I also saw her once in a deli near the bus stop. She was reading, but not out loud!

  16. I love this! I take busses a lot and there are so many people to meet and encounter and stories to hear! I have always been inspired by people and stories on public transportation busses.

  17. Sometimes I miss the people I would see on the bus when I lived in a large city. Your posting brought back a favorite commuting moment.

    A gentleman walked up to me at the bus stop dressed in pants cut off at the knee, a rabbit skin coat and a hat with ear flaps on a hot July afternoon. When I leaned out to look down the street in search of the next bus he leaned with me. As I straightened up he whispered in a conspiratorial tone “it’s coming, you just can’t see it”.

  18. Having lived in Alexandria and riding the Blue Line into DC for years, I do believe I saw that guy LOL LOL. The best about blogging is seeing the work of others. Thank you for sharing this experience. Also thank you for stopping by my blog and liking one of my recent posts. Hopefully you will find other posts you like as well. Take care, Bill

  19. Yolanda Presant

    Make you appreciate your own life doesn’t it? There are swarms of people like that in downtown Vancouver, BC. Scary!

  20. Rose

    That made me giggle more than just a little bit. It was almost a “bwahahahah!” kind of thing. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I’m going to have to wander around yours a little bit more, and have high hopes, based on this post.

  21. You’re a fine observer of the human condition and an engaging storyteller. I look forward to reading more.

  22. I love the ending….:)funny

  23. You are a very talented writer. Also, funny story.

  24. Funny story but sad at the same time. Thanks for sharing

  25. How many things we learn when we just listen. We gather so much wisdom when we “hear” other people, we just have to apply it. This is stirring up some action. I like this, and I will be reading other posts you blog…also ty for liking some of my stuff too.

  26. Definitely sounds like he’s got a backstory there. It’s hilarious that he was praying for God *not* to give him strength, or he’ll end up robbing the liquor store. Excellently written, by the way. 🙂

  27. Mine is usually, ‘Lord give me a new Estrogen patch right now, because if you don’t, someone is going to get hurt!’

  28. Nice read. Love your writing and will definitely pass by often.

  29. check out the book or the website “Humans of New York” I think you will really love it. This reminded me of it. Great work!

  30. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    Quite a prayer! I wonder which way God answered?

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