The funny little man sat in the front seat of the bus and talked nonstop to the driver. Most of his teeth were missing and he spoke with an accent, maybe Italian. The man said things like, “Do you know why I know everything, even though I no schooled?” He pounded his forehead with the ball of his hand. “Because God put it all in here.” Then he cackled and gazed out the window, giving us passengers, if we were lucky, three precious seconds of silence.
In between hyperbole: “I’ve had the best life…life’s not easy…no one’s worked harder than me,” the man made outrageous racist comments in the form of life counsel. “Whenever you see XXX people, you can be sure dey have money in their pocket. You think they’re broke, dey always say they are, but they’re not.” Our driver happened to be of that race, but he never once took offense, never pushed back or corrected him. A few times, when the man stumbled over his words, couldn’t get his thoughts out, the driver calmly said, “It’s okay, I’m listening.” The driver said good morning to every new passenger.
The night before, we’d had torrential rains, and the two of them talked about it. “What time did you get home last night?” the driver asked the man.
“Two a.m. I couldn’t get no taxi from the terminal, so I had to walk.”
“You walked in that rain? All the way home?”
The man laughed. “Yeah. It rained like crazy, but I walk like summer.” He gazed out the window and said it again, more slowly.
It rained like crazy.
I walk like summer.
© Elaine Stirling, 2014
The evocative image of a bus window comes from http://www.ilovethebus.wordpress.com.