Oct 15, 2008

no rest for the aged

This morning, a surprise frost meant a surprise scrape o' the windshield, throwing my schedule out of whack. I missed the bus I usually take, settling instead for a later route.

My usual compatriots are a quiet lot. Their tranquility is the fruit of fatigue, and respect for others' fatigue.

Not so this batch. Six women, a clan of matriarchs, gaining in strength at every stop, engage in excited chatter. They know regular riders' names and berate them for appearing lethargic. They sing little ditties:
Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
You look really drowsy
In fact you look lousy...
They commiserate, loudly. Endless procedures, tests, scans. "Clump clump clump," one sings out, and the ladies laugh. I can't quite make out the context, but frankly, I don't wish to.

I'm reminded of a scene in Jerry Lewis's (minor) classic, The Disorderly Orderly. As Lewis pushes her wheelchair around, an elderly woman converses with her ailing peers, endlessly describing her symptoms. "My bile," she says, "is always dripping, dripping, dripping." Lewis suffers from excessive sympathy, feeling the squeeze in his own liver.

Today I rode that bus.

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