The Wheels on the Bus to Ljubljana

The bus to Ljubljana was an hour late because they had to change the wheels. Typical maintenance that could have been done at a time when the bus was not scheduled to be in use. Everyone was a little salty by the time it rolled into Slot 1. I was livid considering how early I'd had to wake up in order to make it to the station on time. Then I remembered that I was on vacation without a cell phone to check every 30 seconds and prodded my mind in the direction of gratitude. I'll admit I had to push firmly - it was cold, my bags were heavy, and a stinky teenager from Amsterdam was "accidentally" in my personal space for the third time.

I'm surrounded almost entirely by drunk Russian boys in their twenties. The one in front of me is too large for his allotted space and occasionally stands to stretch his long legs. When he sits back down, his seat cracks me in the knee. The twerp behind me seems to maybe think it's funny to rattle the back of my chair. It's like getting stuck next to a bored toddler. Every so often, they sing a song no one understands. The volume is startling. 

Normally I'd be irritated, but I meet the gaze of the driver in the central mirror nearly every time I look up from my iPad, and that's a nice sort of distraction. With his collared dress shirt unbuttoned just so, his bone structure, his green eyes, his haircut, and the chain around his neck, he's the most Hungarian Hungarian who ever Hungarianed. When we stopped for our first restroom break, he woke me up by running his finger lightly along my jawline. I'm pretty sure he doesn't just want to be friends. I don't want to be his friend either. 

There are at least 8 different languages being spoken on the bus as I write this. I understand occasional Bosnian or Russian words and probably 60% of the German if it's spoken slowly. Otherwise, I'm blissfully unaware of what's being discussed, and I love that. 

A Korean girl across the aisle is clad from head to toe in pink. Jacket, jean sparkles, shoes, earrings, suitcase, purse. Even her lightly bleached hair is tinged with rose. "What's your favorite color?" I asked. 

"Blue," she replied. "Why?"

Cough, wrapper crackle, seat wiggle, outburst of Russian singing, pointed look in the mirror, knee thwack. Pop goes the weasel. 

The mountains in southern Austria are magnificent.