i do some of my best thinking on the bus. sometimes. the bus that goes to zibibbo passes by all of the hospitals in the city, and also the university, so there is this eclectic mix of young/leftist/lively students, and crazy/elderly/sick people (and their visitors) of riders. my bus seems to be one of the least timely of all of the city buses--i think because its route takes it down mostly hundreds-years old narrow streets, where if one person double parks, hundreds of people are inconvenienced. it is not abnormal for me to have to wait 45 minutes or an hour for the bus, and then often, when it does finally arrive, it is PACKED. these buses are the worst, especially on rainy days like today, because you are smushed in there with stinky, farty, loud, groping people (oh yes, i have definitely been molested and what would be called "sexually assaulted" in america, but what is just laughed off as normal here).
so of course, today, i had to wait a really long time for the bus, and when it came, it was like a big orange scatolina di acciughe on wheels. i pushed my way on, and at the next stop, this little (and when i say little, i mean pocket-sized) older lady (hereafter referred to as LOL), who has a bad knee or something, hobbled up onto the bus. i think she might have some mental problems, too. i see her often on the bus; she goes to one of the hospitals for physical therapy, i think. she always yells for help getting on and off the bus, and she always wears the same little red hat and red and black striped gloves, and my heart just kinda melts a little when i see her, because she is so funny and cute.
there were no seats left on the bus, so this sweet african lady (hereafter referred to as SAL) got up and gave her her seat. SAL had been speaking in another language that i was trying to identify with the man next to her. it sounded like it could have been french or afrikaans (not that i have ever heard afrikaans, but the man was so white, and she was so dark, so i had this whole story made up in my head about how they were surely from south africa and blah blah blah. i always try to guess where people are from, and i am getting pretty good at it. no one ever knows where i am from, though. they always guess greece or india), but i wasn't sure.
anyway, LOL struck up a conversation with SAL, and started telling her all about her problems and how she hurt her leg (she had been hit by a car) and LOL got so emotional that she started to cry. so SAL gave her a hug and then had to translate the story to the man she had been speaking to, because he didn't speak enough italian to understand. so then, LOL asked her who the man was, and SAL replied that he is her husband, and a series of questions ensued (by the way, the entire time this was going on, an old man was touching my booty under the pretense of the bus being too full. i hate these situations, because i am taller than everyone else on the bus, so my booty is always at about the same level as where other people's hands are. my choice is between being groped in the front, being groped in the back, or trying to cover my booty or front with my bag and risk being pickpocketed. oh, italy.). apparently, i was staring at SAL and LOL while this conversation was going on, and smiling--it was all so sweet.
so next, LOL points at me and asks SAL "who's she?" and everyone in the back of the bus cracks up. there must have been fifteen people laughing, and it was beautiful. i answered that i'm no one, and that i was just smiling because it was all so beautiful. but it was a great little scene, and no one could stop laughing. we just kept laughing and laughing, because of LOL. she apologized for being maleducata, but really, this was one of the best bus rides of my life. normally, i spend my time trying to ignore everyone else on the bus or avoid ticket checkers.
LOL and SAL continued their conversation, and LOL told SAL how beautiful she is, and how handsome her husband is, and it turns out that they are from senegal, so they probably were speaking french, or maybe wolof. i don't know. it was just one of those moments, i guess.