Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Further adventures in riding the bus

As I read the death dates tatooed on the beautiful brown skin of the woman sitting next to me, I wonder whether her heart rests a little easier for having them there, a reminder for everyone to see.

The bus stops and a small, pale old man wrestles his walker aboard. He wears a Filippino shirt with suspenders underneath so as not to interfere with the smooth and casual lines. The walker sports an Amnesty International bumper sticker, and the man sports a button proclaiming "I stand with the sisters." I'm pretty sure it's the nuns on the bus, the religious women defending themselves in their own church, he stands with, and I smile. He winks back.

But I'm also pretty sure it's another kind of sister the rest of the men on the bus would like to stand, or, really, assume just about any posture, with, as two young women walk down the aisle, hips and buttocks undulating. Not a male in my sight can claim custody of his eyes.

One girl-woman carries a fine fat baby, and she seems off limits. But the other is in full declaration mode: see, I am young, and I am ripe, and I will make you forget all this new fangled conditioning that tells you women should have bodies like men's. I think of this poem written by a friend, Ed Werstein.

At Highway 100 the driver calls to a group of five young men, Chinese and with just enough English to ask "Mayfair?" when they clambered on at Marquette University. He points the way, and they, being sophisticated mass transit users, spot the transfer point instantly and wave happily.

As usual, I disembark before the closest stop to prolong the walk through my pretty neighborhood. Have you noticed that the nicest houses seem to be the least used? Though nobody's about much in the daytime anymore, anywhere.

I'll say it again: if you haven't ridden the bus lately, you might want to try. The ride is pleasant and people watching--splendid.

Note for more distant readers in places where everyone uses mass transit: in Milwaukee, the divide between bus riders and non-bus-riders is as deep and wide as the divide between conservatives and liberals.

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