I hand my crumpled, wet ticket to the bus driver, mumbling something about closing my umbrella at the seat. Which, yes, I accomplish, once I realize that this is an Umbrella For Dummies, designed to take all thought out of the opening and closing process by giving me a little button. I press the button. Pffft. The umbrella closes nearly soundlessly. My thumb drips blood down the base of my hand. I wonder what kind of umbrella design policy dictates that the inside blades should be as sharp as scalpels.
Hemorrhaging (okay, almost), I feel around my bag with my uninjured left hand, searching for a band-aid. A tourniquet. A nurse. Something. I have nothing. I briefly consider standing up and calling out, “Does anyone have a band-aid?” But I can’t stand the thought of what will happen to my faith in humanity if everyone just blinks at me awkwardly. I spare us all the embarrassment.
I open another compartment of my backpack, the forgotten one where change would go if I didn’t always miss and send it deep into the bowels of the bag instead. There I find empty tea bags. They’re the kind you fill with your own loose tea leaves, giving you full control of your tea experience. How long have those been there? And where was I taking them? No matter. They’re just the right length to wrap around my bleeding thumb. I fold one over and dress my wound with it, feeling very field hospital capable.
Within two stops the bus fills up. A dainty, perfectly put together young Asian woman sits next to me, wearing enough perfume to knock me out and put me out of my misery. Alas, the anesthesizing powers of her pungent perfume fail and I stay conscious. I brood. Finally, the bus takes the last loop that leads to the Lincoln Tunnel and the skyline comes into view, the skyline that has soothed and uplifted me my entire life. I focus on not bleeding on the Asian woman’s tiny skirt. And I finally remember why I like rain and New York in the first place.