Thursday, September 19, 2013

Katie Couric and Her Pussy Politics

I finally saw Jesus. For real. He boarded the number 22 Clark Street bus at North Avenue. He wore his signature white gown and rope belt. The weather was chilly, so he wore tennis shoes instead of sandals. He had a beard but he looked much darker than the Jesus in my old catechism books. Maybe he was Puerto Rican.

And it wasn’t Halloween.

Jesus even had a cross flung back over his shoulder. It wasn’t a very big cross. It was big enough maybe to crucify a three year old. If he carried a cross as big as Jesus’ real cross on the bus, he’d bop other passengers in the head every time he turned around and the driver would have to tell him to get the hell off the bus.

Jesus stepped up and paid his fare. All heads turned. Some greeted him. “What’s happenin’, Jeeesuus?” One guy held up his hand like he was taking an oath. Jesus obliged him with a half-hearted high five. But then Jesus just sat, slumped, trying to avoid all eye contact. He looked like he had a hard day at work and just wanted to be left alone.

This was a big moment for me because I’d heard many people talk about seeing Jesus on the city bus before. And now I finally got to see him for myself. And I remembered the days, not too long ago, when cripples who couldn’t climb stairs couldn’t even get on public transit buses. And thus we were deprived of so many opportunities. We were deprived of opportunities to work and to go to school and to socialize. And most of all, we were deprived of opportunities to see all the strange characters you see when you ride big city public transit. I felt so inadequate back then when I heard people entertaining each other for hours with crazy stories that began with, “I was on the bus/train and I saw this man/woman…”

So when I saw Jesus on the bus, I remembered those lonely days and I felt more righteous than ever about how we cripples rose up and demanded access to public transit. Because cripples deserve to fully experience like everybody else the Fellini movie that is life in the big city. We deserve to be able to tell crazy stories that begin with, “I was on the bus/train and I saw this man/woman…”

You aren't officially a resident of the big city until you have at least one story about a passenger on a bus or train who spontaneously launches into an unsolicited Samuel Beckett monologue. Here’s mine:

I was on the bus and I saw this man board at Oak Street. He looked like your average white businessman in a suit. Maybe he was a banker. He paid his fare. He pleasantly wished the driver “good afternoon." He sat down in front of me. And then, loudly addressing the empty seat across from him, he said, “Fuuuuuck you! You are not getting all of my possessions! Not you or my mother! So fuck you and fuck Katie Couric in New York, her and her pussy politics!”

And he went on and on about Katie Couric’s pussy politics. And there was a woman in back who must not have lived in the big city long because she didn’t know that the first rule of survival when encountering a Beckett character on public transit is to try to ignore them at all costs. She asked the guy to please be quiet. And he responded, “Fuuuuuuuuck you! You don’t tell me what to do, you and your pussy politics!”

And he went on and on until we reached his stop. Then he stood and pleasantly wished the driver a “good afternoon” and he got off the bus.

On big city public transit, every day is Halloween.