Oh riding the bus can be so entertaining….
One day I sat next to a quiet man. At some point, as a person boarded the bus, the quiet man, who, up until that moment, had not exchanged a single word with me, elbowed me sharply and half whispered in a thick eastern European accent:
“Attention! See that man? He is a thief!” “Thief” sounded more like “teef”.
I was both appalled and amused. Imagine walking onto a bus and someone calls you or considers you a thief.
“Really?,” I asked. “And how do you know?”
He answered indignantly, insulted that I should question his judgement. “How do I know? How do I know? The same way I know it is sunny day or cloudy day! You look. You see.”
Most of the time, I try to read and mind my own business. But still, I hear loud snippets:
“I just spent 90 days in jail STRAIGHT for something I didn’t do!!”
“I forget….whut’s the name of the, you know, the disease where you can’t remember nothin’ no more and you forgit everything? You know what I’m talkin’ ’bout! God! It’s on the tip of my tongue!”
Nah, I ain’t got me no accent. Bone and raised raht here in Seattle! That’s raht.”
On a rare hot summer day in Seattle, an old woman said to an even older man, “Would you mind opening that window for me?” She was pointing to the bus ceiling window. Even I have never tried to open the ceiling window because you have to be pretty tall to reach the lever. At first the man seemed bewildered by her request. But then he said, “Here. Use this.” And he handed over his cane! The old woman just gave him a blank stare, so he explained, “Just push this end into that there white thingy.” She followed his instructions and the window popped open. “I’m a little short on one end,” she said to him. Like some secret code word understood by a privileged few, the man-with-the-cane replied, “Yeah, me too! I’m a little short on one end, too.”
Their conversation left me wondering what it would be like to be short on one end?