Thursday, September 08, 2011

Domestic Bliss on the M102

From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying - "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)", Bob Dylan 1965

They were all of 95. 95 years old, that is. - A husband and wife. On the M102, the MTA bus that runs north along Third.

I was sitting opposite them. Unfortunately, you can only see their legs. I tried to snap a candid pic surrepticiously with my cell phone, but the woman - the one with the knee-length socks - was too quick for me. "Excuse me lady," she yelled for all the bus to hear. "You ain't takin' no pictures!"

I avoided eye contact and pretended to be texting. Hence the photo of the legs.

That's her husband. On her right. They'd got onto the bus at 68th Street. She couldn't find her ticket, and stood halfway between the driver and the step to the door, searching in her handbag. "Lost it again," her husband smirked - a braver man than I.

She let loose as he scuttled toward the middle of the bus to take shelter. In vain.

"I am not the one who loses things," she tiraded. "Why am I the one who has to do everything for you and your pathetic family?" All this being said from her place at the front of the bus for the whole bus to hear.

She sat down opposite me, and when the woman to her right got up to leave she shrieked at her husband to join her. There were at least ten sets of seats between her and him, but the bus was her private space. "Move HERE!" she commanded. Which he did. He dare not do otherwise.

There ensued a monologue about how she'd cleaned the kitchen cupboards because some relative of HIS was coming to stay. Even the people jabbering on their cell phones were drowned out. The husband just sat there. Then, just when it seemed that she was winding down, for some reason she realized it was nearly 9/11.

"Do you know how many firemen died because of 9/11?" she snapped at her spouse.

"I do actually," he beamed triumphantly. "343!

"WRONG!" she cackled. "343 at Ground Zero but hundreds more after that because of the dust and stuff! Ha!"

To give the guy credit, he tried to wheedle out of it, explaining that he thought she meant ON 9/11. To no avail. "Did I say that?" she snapped, "WHEN did I say that? When did I say, 'ON 9/11?'"

It was around then that I decided to snap her picture. I should have realized this was one sharp lady. She knew instantly what I was doing, and then made sure that the whole bus knew.

I lowered the cell phone, tilting it down. I had no desire to be the object of her wrath.

Self Portrait - Through a Bus With Flowers
And so there you have it. Legs.

Is there an upper age limit on eligibility for running for president of the United States? I think not. I'll check it out and if there isn't, and IF I can find her, I will suggest she run. At least she'd be interesting.

After the old woman and her husband let the bus, it seemed strangely, eerily, quiet. All we could hear were the sounds of the under-thirties talking loudly on their cell phones, back-grounded with muffled sounds of rap music emanating from iPods. Oh, and the honking of horns. And the screeching sirens. And the clunking sound of the bus's shock absorbers bumping into the bus's under-carriage as it hopped its way from pot-hole to pot-hole, heading north up Third.

Oh yes, it was good to relax after a hard day at the office ...


Vanessa said...

Ha, sounds like the bus was WORSE then the office.

What a couple, and a couple of what's?

Only you could have such interesting commutes.

Maybe I should ride that bus one day. :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe she's a good cook?

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