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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Conversation Overheard While Waiting For The Bus

Today, on my way home from Golden Gate Park (where I graded papers sitting on a bench near the duck pond in the Botanical Gardens, munching on an apple and a piece of chocolate, and occasionally glancing up to watch a toddler who was not only intent on joining the ducks in the pond, but damned near made it, getting far enough in the water to soak his sneakers and the cuffs of his corduroys before his father, who was much chagrined, snatched the boy out of the water, paying no heed to his freckled-faced son’s outraged wails of “Duckeeeeee! Duckeeeeee!” and the frantic kicking of his sturdy little legs – I ask you, what better place to grade papers?), I overheard the snippet of a conversation while waiting for my bus. A young woman in her early twenties, dressed in black tights, a brown skirt, and an orange rag roll sweater (so Eddie Bauer) was waiting for the bus along with her boyfriend, who seemed to be a bit older than her and smoked one of those short, brown cigarettes that smell like allspice and cloves.

“My mom,” the young woman told her companion, “is one of those people who is absolutely sure of her opinion and that she has the ONLY way to think. You know, she tells me that EVERYONE in the porn business, EVERYONE must have been molested and is in the business because they’ve suffered and are DEEPLY, DEEPLY disturbed. But I told her, Mom, really, that’s just not true. Honest – I was never molested and I’m in the porn business and know plenty of people in the business that are NOT messed up. She doesn’t believe me and wants me to go to therapy. Imagine. She’s just nuts”

Sitting on the bus bench, I stared politely over the top of this girl’s head and past her boyfriend at a somewhat scraggly little tree which sheltered at least a dozen finches (who were oddly still and quiet – perhaps as astounded by this girl’s revelation as I), and tried hard not to laugh or snort or guffaw, or appeal to the young woman to stop torturing her mother with proclamations about the porn business, or tell her to seek therapy right away, or plead with her that if she couldn’t at least quit the porn business, could she at least not discuss it in public, at the top of her lungs, whilst sitting on the bus bench next to me for I really don’t need to add to my worries and don’t wish to wake up in a cold sweat at half past two in the morning worrying about some silly girl in an orange rag roll sweater who apparently is in the porn business – though I know not what aspect of the business she’s in. No, I said none of this. I bit my tongue with more force and endeavor than I have ever had to with my daughter or son – I was quite sure I would make it bleed (calloused though it be from other tongue-biting occasions – children will do that to you, you know), but that was not the case. Thankfully, before the girl could continue, the bus pulled up, the doors opened, and we boarded – the young couple moving to the back of the bus, while I stayed near the front, sitting next to a young man dressed in a leather vest and scruffy blue jeans, and sporting two tattoo sleeves (snakes coiling and circling up his arms) and a row of Celtic crosses tattooed across his forehead (I do believe it was permanent tattoo, not a temporary one for the work was quite good). He smiled at me when I sat down, and through crooked yet white teeth said in a cowboy drawl so completely incongruent with his dress, “Afernoon, ma’m.” And although I detest the respectful “ma’m” (it really does make me feel old – who are these young whippersnappers to age me so?), I smiled at him and responded, “Yes, it’s a lovely afternoon, isn’t it?” And it really was, despite the grey clouds overhead and the slight chill in the air.

He smiled back and offered me a peppermint, which I accepted gratefully. I wished I’d had something to offer him in return, but I had nothing in my bag except a few crumbs of chocolate nestled inside the balled-up candy wrapper and a brown apple core rapped in a paper towel.

When the bus rolled up to my stop, I stepped down and onto the curb, turned and waved good-bye to the bus. The young man waved back, and as the bus lumbered by, I saw the porn girl, her nose pressed against the glass of the rear window, grinning at me. I shouldered my bag, walked the three blocks up the hill to my place and called my children, grateful to hear their voices and relieved that neither is in the porn business (though one does have two tattoos).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

on the bus
i sat surrounded
by a mortician, musician, a farmer, and a barber...

mourn business, horn business, corn business, and shorn business

none of them were my kids


October 14, 2007 9:01 PM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Gollee, Ma'am, you sure do know your way around a run-on sentence. (And I won't hold back.) Guffaw, chortle, snerx.

Do ya think the "porn" girl just might have been putting you on?

As for the rest of the day, apparently fathers everywhere don't keep as close an eye on their progeny as they should. Isn't it nice to be offered a mint when you least expect it?

It sounds as though you might have even gotten a few papers graded, too. BTW, did the papers graded under such idyllic circumstances get better grades?

Before you get uppity about the Ma'am thing, remember my age. snerx. I just added another year on Saturday, so be sure to show a modicum of respect. tee hee, lol, snerx.

October 15, 2007 4:55 AM  
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

the part where you got on the bus and sat next to a strange man sounded like a porn setup... did he offer you a massage?

I have never met a porn person... other than myself, that is...

I miss my finch friends, Finchy and Filly... perhaps they flew out to Frisco for the weather?

October 15, 2007 7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my dear jack,

i beg your pardon. i see absolutely no run-on-sentences, which i translate to mean either run-together sentences or fragments. please note all the phrases and clauses within sentence boundaries are corectly joined or appropriately punctuated and do not, in any sense of the word, constitute run-on sentences. harump. ack. blech. really! you cut me to the quick, sir.

alas (for my students), the pleasant environment of the park had no impact on the grading process, other than to make it swifter. grades for this batch of papers ranged from NP (a D) to a C. my poor students are demoralized. i returned papers today. their dejected little faces were almost, but not quite, more than i could bear.

and happy birthday to you sir.

/t. - and do tell - what did the morticain, musican, farmer, and barber have to say for themselves?

bogs - you must cease and desist using the term "Frisco." one of the best ways to ruffle the feathers of natives is to refer to The City as Frisco.

I will look about for Finchy and Filly - perhaps they blew into town on a lark.


October 16, 2007 3:55 PM  
Blogger Aunty Belle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 18, 2007 2:45 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

ab - you've delted your chicken comment - just as i was going to respond!

i get your drift - but truly - tis not my place to correct the young woman, nor inquire about her "business" (though i really suspect she was playing a game with her boyfriend and with her "audience").

sometimes you have to let young people be.

October 19, 2007 11:06 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

I was there with you throughout your wonderful piece.

Biting tongues is a mothers' way of getting through some tough times, isn't it? Reckon that would be the badge that all mothers could recognise..the groove in the tongue.

The only time I get to enjoy public transport is when I visit the city. There is no such thing here in Australia in country areas. Pity..because it does connect you with those you may not otherwise see, or speak to.

Beautiful writing, once again.

and your book will be out...????

October 20, 2007 6:53 PM  
Blogger NameChanged said...

excellent post bird, I see I have been away for too long, but it is well worth the wait.

November 03, 2007 11:03 AM  

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