Acade(me)

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Quote of the Day
Monday, September 26, 2005
Monday Bus Banter, Part I
I ride the city bus to campus on Mondays. Idiotic conversations abound on the bus.

The scene: a girl with mousy, straggly brown hair and glasses sits at the front of the bus, her yellowed and crooked teeth showing as she smiles at anyone and everyone. She is wearing a coral-and-white striped t-shirt and coral capri pants. Coral is not her color, and the horizontal stripes are accenting all the wrong things. The bus is filled to capacity. It is quiet.

CoralGirl (loudly, to no one in particular): I got stung by a bee today, and it hurts! (She laughs a little, looking around. Her voice is annoying and it carries well.)

No one laughs. No one acknowledges her, but she still smiles. I feel kind of bad for not saying anything, but I'm seated too far away from her.

Bus stop. A young man enters wearing athletic clothes and a jacket with our University's team name across the front. He is clearly an athlete himself, and probably one of the cool kids. The bus is packed, so he stands in the front next to CoralGirl.

CoralGirl: I hope they win this weekend!

AthleticGuy: Huh?

CoralGirl (gesturing toward his jacket): I hope they win. I know a lot of the players.

AthleticGuy (clearly not interested): Really? Like who?

CoralGirl: I know BigNameFootballer, and his friend BigNameFootballer2. And I used to work with BigNameFootballer's brother, Nick. BigNameFootballer was so nice. Once, at the checkout, I gave him his change and he said, "Have a nice day," and I was like, "Hey, you too." What a great guy!

AthleticGuy: Good to hear.

CoralGirl: I'm going to be a sports broadcaster one day. That's why I'm going to LocalCommunityCollege. I love sports. I know some football players in the pros, too.

(It is pretty obvious that CoralGirl does not really know any of these people.)

AthleticGuy (realizing he's trapped): Cool.

CoralGirl: Yeah, it's really cool. I know FootballName and FootballName. They're nice.

Athletic Guy: Great.

CoralGirl: Do you play golf? You look like you play golf. I have a lot of friends who play golf. I hang out with them a lot.

AthleticGuy: Yeah, I play a little.

CoralGirl: Who's your favorite player?

AthleticGuy: I suppose it would be ObscureGolfer.

CoralGirl (his comment doesn't register): Know who mine is? It's Tiger Woods!

(What a shocker! Tiger Woods? How original!)

AthleticGuy waves a little as he gets off the bus. The other passengers in the front of the bus are visibly bracing themselves, thinking they'll be the next victim of CoralGirl's inane conversation. CoralGirl looks around and says, feigning exasperation, "I can't wait to be a sports broadcaster! I'll be so good at it!"

Bus stop. CoralGirl gets off the bus. A pretty woman near the front bows her head into her newspaper and starts laughing to herself. She glances up at me and I giggle a little, too.

Good luck with everything, CoralGirl.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 9/26/2005 04:03:00 PM  
4 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 5:55 PM, Blogger Demetri said…

    That's a beautiful vignette. Thanks. I read it and thought it could be good fodder for a short story.

     
  • At 8:44 AM, Blogger Carroll, Violinguist said…

    Sorry, I just think it's sad. Can you imagine going through life never being able to make a successful connection with anyone? I'll bet this poor woman, in addition to having socially maladaptive parents, got off on the wrong foot with her peers the first time she ever set foot in a play group. So, so sad.... Might it spark compassion? Yes. Hilarity? No. Sorry; I don't want to come onto your blog and reprimand you. It's just that I felt sorry for this poor stranger you describe and wanted to speak on her behalf.... :)

     
  • At 9:07 AM, Blogger Prof. Me said…

    Carroll, I agree with you -- at first I did, at least. As I noted in the first part of this entry, I wanted to respond to her, to laugh a little, but I was too far away for her to notice. Indeed, she was very socially-awkward and was desperately seeking someone, anyone to talk to on the bus. It is sad.

    As the scenario progressed, however, it was clear to everyone she was making things up, and that was pretty funny -- mostly because her "fakeness" was obvious, perhaps even to herself. By the time she got off the bus, I didn't feel sorry for her at all -- I felt at once relieved and confident that she would find her place in the world, wherever that is.

    I didn't mean to be insensitive -- the whole situation just struck me as bizarre.

     
  • At 9:13 AM, Blogger Prof. Me said…

    Forgot to add:

    And whatever the case, this is something that actually happened -- a slice of life, with me as the observer in the background. I relayed it as I remembered it, and am not really making any judgement here. So I suppose we can feel sorry for this girl or laugh at her -- in the end it's all history anyway, and she got what she wanted: a ride home and a conversation, albeit a strange one.

     
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