A Monday and I observe the tendencies. A couple on the bus. He has glasses tinted yellow, a receding chin, and braces. Not surprising, braces are a sort of fashion here for many different ages. She has big strong teeth, alternatively arranged to overlap so they all fit—no braces. He bends to her, their lips touch, the bus lurches, the sparks fly, they draw back stunned.
Two nuns in blue and white stare pointedly away, obviously and enthusiastically admire an opportune church in the distance, clutch the poles as the bus performs its lurch. The greater sister is pale and pudgy, enterprising and energetic. For every hail Mary, a voice seems to intone, you need to eat a meal. Lean sister inferior has modern glasses, the kind I have no doubt other generations will gaze on in photographs with astonishment and horror: rectangular and idiotic. A beak upholds the glasses.
After the bus I pass well groomed and well attired people—without braces these—speaking, gesticulating outside banks or coffee shops. I see the telltale wires attached to ears and suits. And then one passes me without them but in earnest conversation. I eavesdrop on his monologue: “And I want to claim, Lord . . .” he says with vehemence that suggests frustration. Busily engaging the culture, no doubt, and no results to show.
Somebody is hawking lewd movies for all those whose idea of a good time is watching other people have sex. Is it Monday Morning makes me wonder whose idea of a good time is watching other people having sex? I glance away and meet the dull, rubber features of a fat man with a low knit cap and a hostile imbecility and the wonder dies away.
Two rappers rehearse nearby. As if the last bit were not fantastic enough, they believe that by entering a bus with their contraptions, gesticulating and shouting—edifying or obscene lyrics, one wonders?—they will please their captive audience enough to make them part with some loose change. Or is it more fantastic that our urban savages in the obligatory uniform will probably succeed?