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What We Are (2010)

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Grove/Atlantic, Inc.

What We Are (2010) - Plot & Excerpts

to the morbid-eyed driver in her long-sleeved sweater with a brand new red-white-and-blue county authority patch sewed to the side of the shoulder, drop sixteen quarters into the slot, and after they’re all in the box the lady says, “That wasn’t necessary.”
“Yeah, I know. It’s called a gratuitous pleasantry.”
“No,” she says, giving the bus some gas so I have to catch myself on the handrail. “The money.”
“You people want more already?”
“Never heard of Spare the Air Day? All rides within Santa Clara County are free.”
I could ask for my quarters back or get her name to complain later to some phantom bureaucrat on a 1-800 number, but instead I let off a dismissive stream of air that sounds like a deflating tire—pssshhhh—and head down the middle aisle past paisas, Punjabis, Nigerians, Laotians, Guatemalans, Tongans; preachers, derelicts, dealers; cheap, just-starting-out or environmentally conscious businesspersons; septua- and octogenarians with disapproval grooved into their dead faces; pungent transients clutching black plastic bags packed with clothes and blankets and all kinds of recyclable material; signs that say STAND BACK FROM THE DOOR and NO SE PARE JUNTO A LA PUERTA and DING DUNG GAN CUA.

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