The first story of this series can be found here:
BUBBLES and the BIG STARTLE
Remember the things you said as a kid? In my neighborhood we said it all, mostly when out of the hearing range of parents. We weren’t allowed to swear so we called each other things picked up from television shows or expressions passed down from kid generation to kid generation. Things that made us laugh. Like ‘snot nose’ or ‘dog breath’. One particular favorite, always good for a giggle or two, was calling someone a ‘bubble butt’.
“Hey, Bubble Butt, just try and make it to second base! You’re going out.”
Or, “Quit stalling and just kick the can, Bubble Butt!”
To be honest, we didn’t really know what a bubble butt was, it just sounded funny. So we said it.
I don’t want to think how long it’s been since my kid days. I’m thoroughly embarrassed to even think of the many other things that used to make us laugh.
And I guess there’s not a lot to laugh about now, waking up early every day and going to work and having to pay bills. Welcome to the real world.
On the way home from work this week I boarded another crowded bus. When people tried to get on at the next stop they were stopped at the top of the bus steps by a wall of people that you could bounce a ball against. Only five blocks later did people finally begin to get off the bus.
I moved, inch by inch, deeper into the interior mass of people. I noticed a guy sucking in his stomach and squeezing around people, leaning halfway into one of the seats to move to the back door. That’s when I saw that the back half of the bus aisle was empty. What is it with people wanting to stand at the front of the bus? Not me. I passed by two people and could see light shining through the rear bus window. I moved toward it, but was blocked. There was only one person between me and freedom of movement. This person was big, but not really fat. Just very tall and a bit meaty but not at all obese. I crossed over the other side of the aisle and looked down to keep my footing, and that’s when I saw it. For the first time in my life, many years out of my childhood, I was actually being blocked by the biggest bubble butt imaginable.
This was the real thing. More expansive and bubbly than any butt I’d ever seen in my lifetime. It took up the entire aisle space. I mean, the distance from the right-hand row of seats stretching across the aisle to the left row. Shaped like bubbles about to burst, it protruded out far enough to block the aisle. It defied gravity.
I didn’t want to stare. I sucked in and leaned halfway into the same bus seat the guy before me had used. The poor woman sitting in that seat had to move her head to let me by, just as she had to do for the guy minutes before. I squeezed between her and the bubble, holding my breath, and barely made it into the open aisle space.
So, it was true, I kept thinking, able to breathe again. There really was such a thing as a bubble butt! I was absolutely awestruck that it really did exist. Isn’t it wonderful how we humans are all alike yet so different? It’s the differences that make each one of us interesting, makes each one unique.
A seat opened up and I sat next to the window, staring out at people walking down the sidewalk. A hospital was nearby and I watched car doors flying open and people emerging with handfuls of yellow and pink flowers. Babies went by pushed in strollers. One man caught my attention. He walked slowly. I stared because there was something about him that didn’t seem quite right. His head hung low. When my mind registered what I was seeing I couldn’t believe it. It was so startling I couldn’t help but openly gape at the sight, turning my head to continue looking as the bus passed by. I turned all the way ar0und in my seat to watch as long as possible. And, still, it was difficult to process what I was seeing.
I’m not sure, but I don’t think the man had a neck. There was skin where his neck should have been but it sagged down over his shoulders and at the end of it his head bounced along like a watermelon inside a mesh produce bag. I stared harder, trying to see him in the distance as the bus rolled along. How was it possible? How can someone survive without the support of a cervical spine? People die from broken necks. But this guy was walking around with his head hanging below his shoulders without any sign of support.
Other than that he looked like any one else on the street.
What a ride!
Living in the city, at times I am annoyed by all the people I have to encounter in a given day. It’s normal to stand in a long line at the post office, wait for ten orders of people ahead of me to be made before I can get a cup of coffee, and to have a bus go by my corner because it’s too packed with people to stop for more. I could scream sometimes! People are annoying and obnoxious and pushy, yes, but they are always fascinating and unique. How wonderful there are people with bubble butts and how miraculous someone can walk down the street with seemingly nothing but skin to keep their head on.
I used to read a book on the bus, but now I ride with eyes wide open.