She ain't heavyThere's this gigantic fat black woman who rides the same very early morning bus that I do. I'm on flex time, so I catch different buses on different days depending on my hours, but when I work 8 to 6:30, which is at least once a week, she's always there. Probably about my age or a little older. Huge -- I mean, just vastly corpulent. Very dark skinned, very Negroid features. She looks like a bag lady, as she's never to be seen without several plastic grocery sacks and a bulging at the seams bookbag all crammed full of God only knows what.
She rides the bus all the way to the end of the line, like I do, and gets on the same shuttle I do, out to Bluegrass Parkway. She works at the Citibank call center, which is a mile or so from my job.
Everything about her is annoying. If you get stuck behind her as she gets on or off a vehicle, you may as well grab a Snickers bar, because you're not going anywhere for a while. She huffs and puffs and carefully sets down (or picks up) each of her multitude of bags with the same level of delicate precision as you'd expect to see in a demolitions expert defusing a Claymore mine. And she's earnest, and she's unctious, and she will not, probably can not, mind her own business. If you make the mistake of even accidentally allowing eye contact with her for the most fleeting instant, she will gabble at you incessantly for the next half hour about whatever ephemeral stimuli or vague, wispy concept enters her vaporous brain at apparent random. If you don't, well, she'll bray at someone else. You get no peace from her; you certainly get no goddam quiet.
She's just aggravating. I mean, if Allah Herself had set down on a coffee break and calculated exactly what sort of human being would be most easily and casually regarded, and then contemptuously dismissed, by me as 'other', well, this annoying fat black woman would fit the divine bill as if custom made by ingenious orcs.
It may be important to understand here that in the morning, I am an even surlier lout than I am most other times, especially when I am trapped in mass transit with fellow humans not of my choosing on my way to a place I only go because I am paid to do so. I do not want to have people I do not like try to engage me in cheerful conversation about church or Jesus or the college basketball game that was on TV the night before or what the weather is like or what they've heard I do at my job and isn't that interesting. People who do so, do so at their own risk, because, well, I don't like it. On workday mornings when I am on my way to work, I am nobody to attempt to be friendly with.
Although that's not entirely true. Sometimes I can join in the banter, with some of the other regular riders. In fact, I remember one time, after this particular woman got off, one of the other folks speculated as to what she had in all those bags, and someone... okay, it was me... shot back immediately -- "Probably her lunch".
And, you know, everybody laughed.
So, it's possible it's not just that I'm a surly bastard in the morning. It might be that on some level, I'm just a mean motherfucker. At least, towards gigantic fat annoying black women I cannot regard as being in any way part of my particular tribe.
So this morning, she's on the bus and I'm on the bus and I'm ignoring her as is my wont and I take out my copy of JSA #1 which I took in my bag so maybe I could work on the blog post I'm writing about it in between calls.
And she says something to me about it.
At first, I thought it was "So, how's that comic book working out for you there, mister mister manny-man?" in that happy-sappy, Jesus-loves-you-yes-I-know tone she has no matter what she says.
And I was aggravated, and inwardly rolling my eyes, and thinking Why the fuck does she have to fucking bother m...
...and I realized, about half a second after she'd finished speaking, that what she'd actually said was "So, how's that new JSA comic working out for you, with Geoff Johns writing?"
And I was fucking hammered.
She knows who the JSA are?
She knows who Geoff Frickin Johns is?
"Uh," I said, finally. "Well... I don't like it. I don't think there's much story in it. And there's too much stuff in it that he's not explaining fully."
And she nodded. "I think he's overextending himself," she said. "52, Teen Titans, now this... I just think the poor dear is worn out."
And then we pulled into the Citibank call center's parking lot, and she got up and said good bye to everyone on the shuttle in her unfailingly cheerful fashion, and carefully picked up all her myriad baggages, and clambered slowly and ponderously off the vehicle.
And left me sitting there, dazed.
...she's just like me.