Bus Stop

What disturbed me more?

There were 4 people at the bus stop at Grotto and Selby before I got there.  One was a middle-aged special person.  I can’t give you more than that.  She may have been a special genius for all I know.  But her glasses were smudged, crooked and sliding down her nose, her hair was dirty, her mouth hung open and her fanny pack was cinched tightly around her middle.  One or two of these things may happen to us from time to time, but when they all happen at once, at a bus stop, we cross the line from frazzled (or State Fair bound) to special.  She didn’t say a word for the ten minutes we all waited for the bus.

She may have had a lot to say, but she was busy listening to the other woman at the bus stop and nodding.  This second woman was immense, and I don’t just mean overweight.  Gigantesco.  I swear on a stack of burgers that The top of her butt was almost up to my shoulders.  She was big.  I wish I were a better person, but I’m not.  I was unable to control the urge to sneak looks at her backside trying to figure it out.  It was a distinctly African butt.

Does anyone other than me remember the tragic story of the Hottentot Venus?  She was a bushman-woman, taken by the dutch people as a slave and eventually  paraded around Europe as a freak of nature. She had a trait called streaptopygia (among other things), which is common to people from that part of Africa. Large backsides made of connective tissue and fat deposits, like a natural bustle.  She was paraded in front of sophisticated and wealthy men in Europe for years and it was just recently, at the request of Nelson Mandela that her body was removed from museums and returned to what is now South Africa.

Anyway this bus stop woman was impressive and streaptopygic.  She had a baby in a stroller and a little girl in pink sweatpants, fleece sweatshirt and blue flip-flops.  The baby was old enough to know he was cute and he caught me looking at his mom’s behind a couple times.  When I gave him a little wave he covered his face. The girl kept getting into trouble.

Her trouble getting-into activities were the following:  Walking around on the grass, picking up a stick, poking the stick into some dirt by the grass while sitting on a railroad tie. “Talia, what on Earth are you doing?  Put that nasty stick down.”  then a minute later, “Talia, I told you to stop messin’ with them sticks and digging in the dirt. Come on over here. I said come here, Now.”  When Talia came over, mom grabbed her and said, “I asked you to stop messin with that stick, now why you over there playin’ with the stick?  Answer me.  Why?  Answer me, I dare you.” The girl didn’t make any noise, but she walked away cupping her hand over her ear and whimpering.

The special woman and I were speechless.  Her mom said, “Girl you should be thanking me.  You should be grateful you don’t have a mom who beats you for real.  You lucky. Now dust off your butt.  I said dust off your butt!”

Praise god, the bus came so I didn’t have to somehow get myself into trouble.  My biggest problem with this woman was this: Sticks are a gift from god. They are free, biodegradable toys.  They are not nasty or dangerous unless dipped in shit or used in anger.  If you have to twist a kid’s ear, it should be for something serious, like running into traffic, or supporting John McCain and Sarah Palin.


3 thoughts on “Bus Stop

  1. Maggie says:

    I’m so with you on this one. I’ve gotten myself into trouble more than once, usually at the Midway Rainbow, for sticking my nose where a lot of people will say that it doesn’t belong in trying to talk to moms about how they are talking to their kids. I’ve never felt physically threatened, exactly, but man have I gotten the looks.

    Do you listen to This American Life? There was a great act the other day (on September 27) about a guy named Geoffrey Canada, who runs an organization called the Harlem Children’s Zone. Their trying to literally turn an entire generation around in Harlem, and one of the cornerstones of the movement is getitng parents into Baby College that teaches parents among other things the wonders of sticks. They didn’t talk about that exactly, but you’ll get the point.

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