The bus pulled up while Riley made his regular morning deposit-on-demand with his owner standing nearby in his wifebeater t-shirt. I was beyond delighted with how cool it was on the bus. A white lady sat to my right with red shorts on, a red and white tank top with the stripes going in an unflattering direction for her build, sporting a tattoo on her left arm, and with black ear buds in.
At the next stop, a black lady got on and took the seat in front of me and across from the Lady in Red.
Lady in Red (LiR): Hello, Darlene.
I noted that Darlene's name tag, which was in view to me since she sat sideways on the seat facing the Lady in Red, indeed confirmed what the Lady in Red had called her. I found it a little annoying that the name tag didn't indicate the place of employment on it. I'm such a yenta.
Darlene (D): Well hey, girl.
Darlene leaned closer to look at the tattoo on the Lady in Red's arm.
Lady in Red (LiR): That ain't real.
D: How ya been?
LiR: Not too good. You notice you ain't seen me in a while?
D: Where you been?
LiR: I was in the hospital. My blood pressure went through the roof, and I found out while I was in there I got diabetes. My sugar was 500-and-something when I went in there. Hey, you got a couple a dollars I can borrow, Darlene?
D: No. All I got is all I got. (I'm going to have to remember that line. It's as profound as it is arcane.)
LiR: It's freezing on this bus.
The Lady in Red asked Darlene how one of her children was doing, which from the conversation that followed I think was only an opening to start talking about her own child. There is no way I can do justice to the conversation that followed, and in retrospect, I desperately wished I'd've activated the "Voice Notes" feature of my phone to digitally capture it.
The Lady in Red blurted out a bunch of things, only a few of which I've captured, as I was distracted with a backchannel of thoughts like, "I cannot believe all of this has happened to one person. I can't believe how public (meaning loud) this conversation is. This scenario has all the makings of the lyrics to a country song in it. This woman has a lot going on."
LiR: My baby's doing great. Her mama's a mess though. She was in a car wreck. What happened was, she was driving her grandmother's car and her grandmother had a heart attack and it caused her to swerve over. The grandmother was supposed to be driving.
And then, after that, she got shot. She's on a ventilator now.
D: How'd she get shot?
LiR: A guy was trying to shoot another girl on the other side of her, and he said, "Duck!" and she thought he said there was a duck and she leaned forward to look at it, and he shot her instead of the other girl.
D: What was he shooting that other girl for?
LiR: For telling the truth. He was in jail, and then he got out and went back to see his girl to confront her for telling the truth.
D: That's awful. Well, I hope your baby's mama makes it.
LiR: It's gonna take a lot of prayers for her to pull through. But that baby's like my baby, and if her mother dies, we're gonna adopt her.
This assertion of adoption juxtaposed to asking to borrow a couple of dollars at the beginning of the conversation was rich. (Pun, and irony, fully intended.) With either outcome—adoption or not—I thought, "Things don't bode well for that child."
LiR: Yeah, I want to adopt her, because while I was in the hospital just now I found out that I can't have children.
She said this with no detectable disappointment or wistfulness, just very matter-of-factly.
D: You can't have any children? (She asked this like she didn't think she could possibly have understood her correctly due to her lack of emotion.)
LiR: Yes, just found that out.
D: I'm sorry for that.
D: I'm sorry you can't have any children.
We (my boss, my officemate, and myself) had our weekly staff meeting next door at the Coffee Haven coffee shop, as we had given up our conference room to someone who needed one at the last minute to accommodate a group much larger than the three of us.
I had a fairly productive work day, in which I got to do some writing and editing, which is work I enjoy.
I got home late, and to the gym even later. I arrived at 9:15, and I did my upper body workout followed by 250 (10 sets of 15 and 5 sets of 20) ab crunches.
There was a guy there to whom I assigned all the undesirable characteristics of Bubba (blast from the past), including noting that his "Dolly Parton diet" must not be working and actively avoiding eye contact with him, and eventually realized it wasn't him at all.
I left there at about 10:10.
I met Joe at Flex for Mary K. Mart's Freak Show, which was just tragic. Not the show itself, as we didn't stick around to watch it. There were only about two other people in the bar other than the four or five drag performers, and we did not want to be part of an audience of four or five.
Over at The Borough, we said hello to Phil's Joe and then sat at the bar and shared an order of killer cheese fries, along with two drinks each.
It was pretty much a bust of an evening, but I didn't feel bad for dragging Joe out since he's officially on vacation, off work now until next Tuesday. Bastard.