The lady on the bus


Sometimes Partner and I ride the trolley to work. It’s not really a trolley; it’s just a squatty little city bus with shellacked wooden seats that send you flying if the driver takes a corner too fast. But it’s crafted to look like a trolley, and it’s a pleasant ride, especially on a sunny morning. Naturally there’s a cast of characters: the driver (usually a blonde woman sucking a lollipop); an old man with withered legs and a big smile; a rumpled academic with a huge head of hair who naps surreptitiously.



Lately there’s been a new addition: a woman about our age, who dresses in lots of layers of crepe and chiffon and fabric. Think “aging hippie,” if you will. She’s very brisk, she engages everyone in conversation, she’s loud and gregarious. To the point of being A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G, especially on a quiet weekday morning.



This was a snippet from last week’s conversation (she was sitting right behind us, I couldn’t very well not hear it): “How are you?” another woman asked her.



“Oh,” Aging Hippie fluted theatrically, “I had a really awful day at work yesterday. I got a written warning. I think my boss wants to fire me or something. Anyway: that’s neither here nor there. It is what it is. Oh, can I call you later, so that you can help me with that computer thing? You know I’m helpless with that computer stuff.”



I shudder with silent laughter, and I can’t even look at Partner, his eyes are squeezed shut, he’s trying not to laugh too.






  • Do you find the expression “It is what it is” as loathsome as I do? I guess it’s supposed to be deep: that’s life, we have to accept it. But – sheesh!

  • What do you suppose was in the written warning she received? Did it have anything to do with her lack of computer skills? Her talkative nature? The fact that she’s always calling friends on the phone from work?

  • Why is she even working in an office in the first place? I’ve seen her wardrobe. She could open a consignment boutique and market frilly dirndls to college girls. (Try saying those last five words over and over again, really fast.)



Anyway: she stopped riding the bus a few days ago. I think the written warning was followed by something a little harsher.



I will be looking for that consignment boutique in our neighborhood any time now!




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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