Thursday morning on the bus, sans iPod, I found myself seated next to two men about my age, who were standing in the aisle and talking to one another in the privileged tones of the corporately secure. They began by assuring one another that the bus was not normally considered an appropriate mode of transport. Both used "fuck" as the most frequent condiment in their sentences, and one of them said "retarded" a couple of times. At first, they were discussing a sporting event.
"Did you see the game?"
"Yeah, the part at the end."
They reminded me of the people who populate the best of David Mamet's early stage work: often, he has two characters speaking passionately about something with which they may or may not be familiar. It was entirely possible from what I heard that neither man had actually seen the game. I was not able to discern so much as what sport it may have been.
The bus had reached maximum density and the driver had begun to skip stops rather than risk letting more folks on, but these men spoke loudly, as though they were certain that there was not another soul for miles. Children often have this quality, but in a confined public space, most adults do not. Or at least I don't.
We passed a tower of condos near the river.
"You know what those places cost?"
"No. I bet it's retarded."
"Sure, just think about what a fucking membership across the street costs."
"They include a membership?"
"No. I don't know. I'm just saying that's expensive."
"The club's expensive, so the condos have to be."
They got off soon afterward, in the midst of discussing recent or potential sexual conquests.
That's the thing about a rush hour bus ride. You never know what you're going to overhear or see, or become involved in. Two days earlier, a young woman sitting next to me was idly reviewing the images on her cell phone, which included several topless shots of herself. And on Monday, a woman said "Steven, you're breaking my heart" twice into her cell phone, each time in a sort of dreamy singsong. She said nothing before or after, and more than a minute passed between repetitions.
It's nice, I guess, as a writer, to absorb these things. To watch the behavior and be curious, to remember and to record.
But all the same, most of the time I'd rather have my iPod.
Speaking of sporting events, I attended one Friday night. I'll post about the experience soon. In the meantime, there are some pictures of the park and some fireworks which are freshly added to flickr.