The woman on the elevator turns to me. “I have a very serious illness you know,” she says.
No. I didn’t know that. But soon I will, and do you know why?
Because I have the face that launches a thousand confessions.
“I wanted to name my first dog Bowser,” says the man on the bus.
“Is that right,” I say.
There is a silence.
“You want to know why I didn’t?” he says.
“Sure,” I say. “Hit me.”
“Because my mom thought it was a terrible name.”
I look at him. By all appearances, he appears to be firmly entrenched in his 60s.
“Well what’s it to her?” I ask.
“EXACTLY,” he shouts. Heads turn and he leans in to whisper angrily. “Exactly. What the bricken bracken fargle raggen was it to her?”
He didn’t really say “bricken bracken fargle raggen” of course. He was a bit more vehement than that.
But you get the picture.
I assure him that Bowser is a perfectly reasonable name for a dog, and I get off the bus two stops earlier than I need to.
It’s good for my legs.
My father has this face as well, this tell-me-your-secrets face. “Does it kill me to listen?” he says. “No. You nod, you take them seriously, you let them speak. People just want to be heard.”
And so I let them speak. Because it doesn’t cost anything to listen. Because the more people there are, the fewer voices we hear. And because it is the way of my people.
And because it doesn’t kill me to listen; and when it does, the exercise does me good.
And in case no one’s mentioned it yet, it’s Friday, the day of the week we ask ourselves if it’s too late to quit our jobs and marry well. The answer to that, in most of our cases, is an unfortunate “yes”. But no fears! Our friends like us; and as long as I have a porch, you have somewhere to sleep.
But what about the weekend? If only there was a way to see into the future…
Let us consult this morning’s commute, shall we?
Dance Like a Monkey by the New York Dolls
Stigmata by Ministry
Country Funk by Southern Culture on the Skids
Sunday Papers by Joe Jackson
Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag by James Brown
Why Won’t You by The Rogers Sisters
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere by The Who
And there you have it: stay indoors, drink plenty of fluids, and call that guy you said you’d call.
Have a great weekend, everyone; and if you don’t, I’ll be here tomorrow, too.
And I’ll be listening.
A Meeting in the Meeting
9 minutes ago