4.07.2017

The Bus Lady Astrologer (Fiction)

Bus Lady Astrologer

Here is my latest work of fiction. The story was workshopped in my writing class this week. I received thoughtful feedback and now have many ideas on how I'll continue with the story. Your feedback is welcome.

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Between my daily walks around the city and my apartment on the 12th floor of the Taft building, I have the perfect lens to watch life go by. While I‘m enamored with the city any time of the year, it is especially dreamy on fall days like today. Ancient elm trees afire with leaves of red, orange and gold line the boulevards and make a striking contrast to the old Gothic buildings surrounding the city green. Days are crisp, a warm kiss of summer brushing up against the cozy chill of winter. Fall softens people. Fall speaks of promise.

Scholars, dreamers and hooligans all call this place home, and I couldn’t think of living anywhere else but the center of it all, in a high-rise mere steps from the city green. In one way or another, I’ve been engrained in the comings and goings of folks here for the past 25 years. Between my keen eye for observation and natural talents bestowed upon me by The Universe, I’ve been able to refine my insight into people and have thrived through my ability to connect with others. Lots of time on public transportation along with a knack for waiting table has also helped me hone my people skills. For many years now, I grab the bus and trundle down to the Cape Codder to waitress every Thursday and Saturday evening. My friends wonder why I’m doing it.

“Lydia,” they say to me. “You’re doing well. You have a solid job at the phone company. Why all the bother?”

I mumble a quick response, but largely avoid the essence of their questioning. Between the excellent tips, great food and bustling atmosphere, waitressing is too good to pass up, so I leave it at that. What I don’t tell them is that I’m saving money to start my own business. A woman’s gotta do her own thing. That’s the only way to find true satisfaction and success in life, do your own thing. In an effort to make that happen, I have put my intention out there and wait patiently for The Universe to deliver.

I take my inspiration from Mr. Fox, he’s the owner of the Cape Codder and he’s a smart man. He’s doing his own thing and it’s served him well. Not only does he run a damn fine business, he’s also wise about the stock market. Every so often I ask Mr. Fox what he’s investing in and note it on my waitressing pad. Whenever my stash of tips amounts to $250, I invest. The Universe is starting to deliver and my stock fund is adding up nicely.

Once my stock fund hits its goal, I’m going to start my business. There’s a small studio above the head shop on Chapel Street. Between the reasonable rent and the hippie vibe below, it’s the perfect spot. Lydia’s Cosmic Consultancy is what I’ll call it.

And please don’t call it a fortunetelling business. I’m all about using a spiritual path to guide people to success and helping them live life to their potential so they may do good for themselves and for the community. With a basis in astrology, it’s not that I will tell their future, rather, I’ll give customers the tools to make their own future. And that’s the difference. By empowering rather than telling I can get them to make something happen in their life rather than merely plodding along sheep-like as many folks do.

And why not start a psychic consultancy? Each time I visit my sister Martha in San Francisco I see a ton of folks working in the clairvoyant realm. And let me tell you they are all kooks, total amateurs; their businesses, strictly for the birds. And if they can do it in San Francisco, I can certainly do it here.

A business like mine is just what this place needs. You see, there’s an existential crisis going on here. The city no longer really knows who it is and given its long history and location, is it any wonder it’s lost? Located between two major metropolitan areas, it’s overshadowed by two American superstar cities. Sure, it’s had its moments but it’s failed to have any big ones that propel it into the limelight. But that will change with the right attitude and I can help the city reinvent itself. All it takes is getting people to listen to their soul and act on the message. Use their gifts, get together with others and see our community as one.

Given my knack for talking, it’s little wonder I ended up working for the phone company, one of the oldest in the nation with some significant firsts in the telephone world. It’s an important part of our history but people seldom remember this important fact. We’re a city with connection to others in our DNA and by forgetting this we’ve suffered. I’m not surprised The Universe has drawn me here and to the phone company, but as good as the phone company’s been to me, it’s still a company, not my own thing. Working for The Man does not do a woman good, so I’ll soon move on.

~

I walk a few short blocks to the corner and join the usual suspects to wait for the bus. A mish-mash of folks cram onto the bus and I jostle with them. This mass of humanity and the bus itself is not my cup of tea. The cracked leather seats have seen better days and the bus makes a loud clank each time it goes over a bump. Folks have written graffiti on the back of the seats with “screw convention” and “Jerry has a big one” scrawled in jagged handwriting. Lack of pride shows and the upkeep of the city bus system, like the city itself, is slowly going downhill.

Today’s bus ride isn’t that bad as I’m lucky to be seated next to two college girls. They’re young, sane, and most importantly, clean, a pleasant contrast to the skanky majority that normally rides the bus. Not that I’m a snob or anything, but some of these people, let me tell you. I’m accepting of everyone, but the cleanliness factor really gets to me. Can’t they take a little time to launder their clothes and bathe daily? It’s a matter of pride and you’ve got to have pride to make it in life.

The college girls I’m seated next to chat animatedly. Lively young people always make me smile. Their eternal enthusiasm, their excitement about everything, they way few things annoy them. I wish them success and hope they will radiate their youthful vibrancy forever. Each year, college students come to the city passionate and ready to conquer the world, but most leave four years later when they conclude it to be a second rate city, a has-been, a place that has seen better days. They should stick it out. This city has all the right ingredients to go places. I know about these sorts of things.

The bus chugs along past the old world charm of downtown on to the fast food joints and shady clubs just outside the city center and finally on to the antique shops, neighborhood bars and restaurants of the pleasant neighborhood near the Cape Codder. During this short ride, the city transforms in front of my very eyes, and I watch as it changes from an old college town to a down-and-out second-tier city to a park-filled city with tree-lined streets in pleasant residential neighborhoods.

This city has a certain mystique and vibrancy that gives it a personality much bigger than it's size. It's the way old-world feel collides against an urban grittiness that makes its heart beat. History, decay, prosperity, youth, promise, individuality, nature, and so much more are all right here sitting side-by-side. Right now it’s down-and-out but it has great promise. I have a great intuition about these things, and see myself as a leader in our revitalization. Once my new business is up and running, I’ll help people connect to others and to their greatest strengths. Empowering people this way is what will help heal the city and propel it into its greatest imagined future. It’s time to bring the pride back.

I stare out the window at stores, schools, parks and houses I’ve passed a million times over. To keep my enthusiasm up and get in the proper waitressing mind-frame, I try to channel the energy of the young college girls and then it hits me. I know exactly why I’m so drawn to them. All three of us share the same birth sign; we’re all Leos. Never shy to start a conversation with strangers, I pipe up.

“You girls are Leos,” I say. “I can tell.”
July Leos and August Leos

The college girls are enchanted. I go on to explain the differences between July and August Leos, and the girls stare back in wide-eyed wonderment as I’ve pinned them correctly, first as Leos and then which is the July Leo and which the August. I’ve got a captive audience, so I school them on the intricacies of the Leo personality and warn them to watch out for Pisces, a fact I know all too well as Mr. Katz, my boss at phone company, is a Pisces. A royal pain in the ass for sure, but he’s been good to me so I can’t complain.

Are my teachings sinking in to these young women? They should be. I’m on to something and I can help these girls. It might take them time to heed my wisdom but people don’t forget a moment like this.

~

Rustic wooden tables fill the dining area of the Cape Codder. White walls and linens and pastel sea-themed paintings contrast the dark tables and give the restaurant a beachy feel. On some evenings, tables are pushed aside after dinner to allow for bands, Grateful Dead cover bands like the one playing tonight, and reggae bands being the type Mr. Fox prefers. He says they draw the college kids yet their grooviness keeps the vibe mellow and eliminates altercations. The Cape Codder never has any fights on music nights and cash always pours in.

I’m great at this waitress thing. It’s all about giving people what they need and sensing the best way to treat them. Do they need lots of fussing or just a quick check in from time to time? Do I make small talk with them or do I keep my motor mouth shut? The college girls who wait tables with me should follow my lead. The seriousness they take to waiting tables is over-the-top. They pour on phony joviality that is sickly-sweet and they never shut up. And the outfits. What is up with those short skirts and tight shirts? As if revealing a lot of your body will be the key to success. And trust me, college girls, for the most part, never last long at waitressing.

We do a hoppin’ dinner business tonight and as we begin to set up for the band, I spot the young girls
Bus Lady Astrologer, July & August Leos
from the bus. They’re here with some cocky looking young men, a cheery group of exuberant, confident college kids. But the group is mismatched. The young men are lazy and are not right for these girls. I struggle with how to proceed. Do I let them figure it out on their own or save them from their own devices?


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May 9 update - added more to the story. Read it herehttp://annvinciguerra.blogspot.com/2017/05/bus-lady-astrologer-updated.html