Little Usher

Twenty-one hours on the road, breathing recycled air and surrounded by other irritated individuals and crying babies made for one memorable return. The bus driver never took the carpool lane and was always 60 miles under the speed limit. By the time we reached Santa Rosa, the bus was beyond capacity. The bus driver made the executive decision that it’d be perfectly safe to have people sitting in the aisle of the bus for the remainder of the trip to Oak-town. Packages were overflowing: nobody could go to the bathroom because some passengers had to put their boxes and bags in the only remaining compartment. I realize that this one trip was an isolated incident. However, lightening can strike more than once. After this September, I will be old enough to rent my own vehicle. If I can help it, I will never ride the Greyhound again. I’ll do AmTrak only because I’ve never tried it before – but no more Greyhound. Good lord, was it a drag.

The only consolation was my time with Little Usher. I did not think much of sitting next to the little boy who was playing with his Gameboy Advance when I got on the bus in Arcata. I smiled and he was somewhat reserved – which should be the case since I was a complete stranger. Little Usher’s grandma was sitting by the window on the opposite row.

Apparently, my offer of water early on the trip established some trust. He was thirsty, but he couldn’t wake his grandma up. When he did, she said there was nothing to drink. “Do you have a cup,” I asked. “If you have a cup I can pour you some of my water.” He shook his head. I thought about it for a second, and I decided to give the whole bottle to him.

“No, thanks,” he said. “I’m cool.” A few moments later, he offered me some chips. And soon we started talking. Immediately, I was impressed by his ability to communicate. Sure, he had his Black Americana accent, but he had quite a vocabulary and was at ease in conveying his ideas (sports, games, music, etc.) We held a conversation about general topics, but he didn’t blab like any other ten-year old.

His real name isn’t Little Usher. He’s actually Gary Nelson, III. I assume he’s from a well-to-do family, living in the better part of Oakland. Those long eyelashes, perfect white smile, private school education and basketball jersey clothes all point to some money.

Little Usher could free-style. That was kind of neat. He asked me my name and then he created some interesting rhymes. They weren’t memorable, but I could not do any better!

Though we created a little island in the mobile aquarium, Little Usher was willing to give up my seat for dame. Haha… one of the passengers who had to sit on the floor was a pretty black girl. And, rather than offering his own seat, he asked me to give up mine. One would not have guessed he was just ten. His horomones for that girl was so intense it was palpable.

At one point, he got to shootin’ the breeze with a Latino gansta sitting across the way, behind his grandma. I was a bit concerned at first because of Little Usher’s precociousness. My concerns had no basis. The guy was laughing up a riot! I suppose he was as impressed as I was by Little Usher’s “maturity.”

I can’t say Little Usher was all that mature. He still exhibited ten-year old behavior – like faking a death on my backpack and then drooling a river on it. He sprayed his Sketchers with liquid candy just to see how his black ‘n’ white shoes would look with “red paint.” When it was not as appealing as he thought it’d be, he licked it clean. I tried to dissuade the boy. But, he was a boy.

In the end, he made the first part of the trip much more bearable. We took a picture together, he did his Berkeley hand sign and I did my LA.

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