Today the children and I took the day off to take a trip to Elma on the bike and transit. Graced with four fresh tamales my mom picked up from our local market I first biked to the bank (I’m ashamed to admit I was really irritable when told I could not use the drive-through bank teller at my bank – two clerks were sitting there and no cars were in sight, not to mention I had two children buckled in the bike trailer) then sorted us out at the station for a two-bus trip.

I didn’t mind the free occasional bad language or methadone / heroin / prison talk (I heard all of this on both trips between Elma and Aberdeen) although I was shocked and disgusted to hear a woman behind me, in response to discussing a court date, call an area judge a “faggot”. I just forget the ugliness some people openly display (I guess I’m more used to those who hide it inside).

My children charmed many on our trip both in shops and on transit. Nels complimented a woman on her hair, eyes, and earrings in such a way several people laughed and the lady herself blushed. Lots of beautiful people who’ve lived hard, aged early, and have bad teeth. But somehow more vital, because they live so much of their life in public systems and don’t hide their light, such as it is, under a bushel.

Total miles not driven today: about 55, or $6.20 in gas (I spent $1 on bus fare roundtrip). This theoretical $6.20 more than paid for the two necklaces the kids had custom made at Unique Beads, a cute little Hawaiian print dress marked down to 50 cents at a new consignment shop (day three of their opening), and three kid-sized ice cream cones at a local coffee shop after our home-packed lunch.

So yeah – I like shopping, as it turns out. It’s nice when it’s all day, a family experience, and costs next to nothing.

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