I met pensioner Spider-Man on the bus today…

So this morning was just a normal rinse and repeat type of morning in my house. Sometime after wishing I didn’t have to get out of bed, doing the autopilot morning routine and dropping my youngest daughter off at school I found myself on the bus heading into town making a mental list of all the chores I had to accomplish today. The bus stopped outside the train station and didn’t pull away straight away. This lack of motion snapped me out of my thoughts and I looked forward to see what to me was a very intriguing sight. A gentleman had boarded the bus and was counting out change to pay for the journey upon learning he couldn’t use his pension age bus pass until after 9 am. This activity in and of itself was rather ordinary and mundane. However, this gentleman captured my attention. Upon his head was a Spider-Man hat, on the floor next to his feet was a Spider-Man lunchbox and a Spider-Man rucksack complete with matching water bottle. The area between his head and feet was dressed rather dapperly with a nice pin striped suit which certainly contrasted the bright red of his Spider-Man regalia. He finished paying for his ticket, collected his bags and made his way to the seat in front of me. He was not oblivious to the looks he was getting from the other passengers and he smiled at those with the sternest expressions on their faces. His sky blue eyes almost twinkled with mischief as he sat down and said, “Have no fear Spider-Man is here.”

I heard some of the other passengers whisper the words autistic, dementia, crazy to each other. Most exhibited defensive body language, crossing their arms and leaning away. I couldn’t stop staring at him. I was captivated by him. He turned to me and said, “I know I must look strange.”

I replied, “no, I think it’s fabulous.”

I am so glad that I did because in that moment he lifted his pant leg up to show me that he had a full Spider-Man suit on underneath that pin striped suit. He then explained that he wears the suit for charity events. Just the week before he did an abseiling event dressed as Spider-Man for a charity that supports one of the children’s hospitals. He had once been an educator and still enjoyed doing work for children.

The conversation then turned to his efforts as an environmentalist. He spoke of the awareness events, the peaceful protests and the lobbying he does for the sake of our environment. His passion was infectious. The journey came to an end, we exchanged names (I will protect his secret identity), I then help direct him to his destination and after him bestowing a gentleman like kiss on my cheek we parted ways.

For the rest of the day I started to question my own life. I turned 44 last week and have been reflecting on things a lot since then. I’m younger than this man and yet somewhere along the way I stopped having the same level of passion and drive and enthusiasm that he has for the causes that he cares about. One of my passions has always been writing. My novels have become dusty, my short stories covered in cobwebs and my passions limited to a few paragraphs scratched out in notebooks, unexplored ideas typed into the notes app on my phone and a blog sitting untouched for nine months. I’m not sure I have much value in my voice at the moment but I feel like I need to try to explore my words again. I am hoping this is my first step to rekindle just one of my passions.

I met pensioner Spider-Man on the bus today and he may never know this but he inspired me in a way I’ve not been inspired for a very long time.


About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three who doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up.
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