Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Everybody's got a random

Sometimes in maintaining a blog, I get too into the notion of themes -- of telling stories that have some overriding point, or of depicting life in a way that betrays some grand plan. Because it makes for more interesting writing (and reading).

But truthfully, I think that's all bullshit.  Most of life is totally random.

Like the other day I was on the bus coming home from work.  Sitting across the aisle from me was this huge guy that looked a bit vagrant-ish.  Not quite homeless, but certainly someone who has seen brighter days.  I got the sense that he spent a lot of time riding the bus and striking up conversation with people, just to pass the time.

Which, whatever, ya know?  More power to him, I guess.

Except that I am not one for idle conversation with strangers.

Every once in a while the planets will align and I will enter into a conversation on a plane or whereever with a seatmate, and it will be genuinely interesting.  But this is an exceedingly rare occurrence, and not something that I actively seek out.

So this guy across from me on the bus has been bothering some poor guy who was in a Navy uniform, so Almost Homeless Dude starts in with the, "oh, you're a Navy man, eh?  Did you know [some obscure fact about the Navy that may or may not have been true, but was a way to ingratiate himself with the dude in the uniform] blah blah blah." Navy Guy humored him for a while, but finally reached his stop and practically flung himself off the bus, he was so overtly happy to be free of Almost Homeless Dude's conversational stylings.

I could practically feel Almost Homeless Dude searching around for some new shlub to talk to.  And eventually he settled on me.

I stared straight ahead, and then was stunned to be smacked across the face with a scarf, which Almost Homeless Dude had flicked at me, like a 10th grade boy smacking ass in the communal shower after gym class, in an effort to get my attention.

I whipped my head around and glared at him.  He sort of chuckled and said, "oh, I'm so sorry," as if it had been an accident.  I frowned.  He tried to talk to me, saying things like, "oh, I see your ID badge, where do you work?" but I grunted one-word answers until I reached my stop and got off the bus.

And there isn't any grand point to this story. It's just an example of a random encounter that is a part of commuting on public transportation.  One that I would never remember, if I didn't record it for posterity here  on the internet.

And the day had been sort of random like that.  I spent the day going from meeting to meeting, never quite getting my bearings with a big project -- just small encounters and questions that were unrelated.  I felt kind of disjointed and off-kilter all day.

The day ended randomly as well.

I was lying in bed with Zeke, snuggling with him to help him get to sleep.  He had been quiet for awhile, so I thought he was settling down and falling asleep.  But I should have known better.  My mother once remarked that when she thinks about Zeke she's reminded of those machines that measure brain activity -- the red areas show areas of heightened cerebral activity.  She envisions Zeke's brain as all red, firing on all cylinders at all times.

I don't disagree.

We were lying there in the dark, quiet and cozy.  Suddenly, he lifted his head and exclaimed, "Mama!"  He sounded very excited.

"What is it, honey?" I asked.

"Mama!  Have you ever heard of the number 139?"

I chuckled.  "Yes, I have heard of that number."

"You have??"  He seemed incredulous.

"Yes.  I've pretty much heard of all the numbers."

"Oh."  He sounded skeptical.

He put his head back down on the pillow, his little brain continuing to fire away.  I put an arm over him and pulled him close.

Eventually we both fell asleep.


  1. HAHAAahahaaa "139", now that is random. Can't wait to see what my little person will say when she can talk...

    But the talkative almost homeless bus person... I think happens to everyone who frequents public transportation! Annoying.

  2. FVM - one of the best things about having kids is when they start to talk and you can have conversations with them. They are hilarious and sweet and wonderful.

  3. Zeke is so smart. Your mother is right. His brain is all lit up. You paint a sweet picture at the end. It made me miss having little ones. That's great writing if you can move me like that.

  4. Thanks, Lisa!! High praise, indeed, coming from you!