On the 41 bus is a woman who is on the slow side. It isn’t her fault, clearly. She came out that way. However, her slowness has allowed her to think that she can—and indeed, that she must—talk to everyone, all the time, non-stop. I’d seen her do this before and thought that she knew the person she was talking to. Then it turned out that it was just what she did.
This Friday she was on the bus again. I stood in the aisle and she started on the poor guy behind me, a gentle man in his sixties.
“I get off at the next stop,” she said.
We had just left downtown.
“That would be Northgate,” the man said.
“My knee hurts,” she said.
“That’s a pity,” the man said after a moment.
“Your knees must be good,” she said. “I work in town.”
“I work in town too,” the man said, sounding relieved to get away from his knees.
“Are you going to work tomorrow?” she asked.
“Tomorrow is Saturday,” the man said.
“My cousin has a house,” she declared. “I like bagels.”
The man cleared his throat.
“What kind of bagels do you like?” he asked.
“We just need money,” the woman said.
And so it went on, non-sequiturs for fifteen minutes.
I got off at Northgate to catch the other 41 bus for the last stretch. As the bus pulled out of the bay, I marvelled at the patience of this man, standing in the aisle still, nodding and answering strange questions.