I've taken to walking some mornings to a bus stop a little further away from my apartment than my normal one just around the corner. It's a pretty walk up towards the park and the very beginning of the bus route, with the Hudson and the trees lining the Hudson and all that great big sky opening up on my left, schools and apartment buildings and playgrounds to my right. It seems a nice thing to do in the morning -- this extra bit of outdoor time, these extra moments of sky -- before getting on the bus and heading (relatively) downtown and into my basement office for the day.
One of my regular bus drivers noticed this change in routine last week and demanded, all serious-like, "What are you doing at this stop, young lady, going undercover or something?" I laughed and said I was just taking a little walk before work, and he laughed and said, "Well, that sounds just nice."
This morning I walked up there again, enjoying the wind blowing off the river and up the hill and through my hair. There are always a couple buses parked around the circle in front of the entrance to the park waiting to start their trips south, winding their slow and ponderous way through Manhattan. As soon as I got to the bus stop today, the second in line rumbled to life and pulled up to the stop too. I climbed aboard, windblown and smiling contentedly and the bus driver, my bus driver, grinned at me and said, quite happily it seemed, "Getting our morning stroll on, were we?"
I, fingers slightly numbed by the cold (or perhaps flustered by being noticed and remembered quite this much), managed to put my metrocard in upside down and backwards. He just chuckled and waved me back to my usual seat, where I spent the next twenty minutes or so ostensibly ensconced in a book but really kind of glowing from the brisk morning air and the simple joy of being known in the big city.