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11:28 - Tuesday, Oct. 05, 2004
human crossing
yesterday i rode my bike over to the spruce bus stop because i didn't want to ride uphill all the way to campus, and as i pulled my bike up to the stop bench, there was a girl who immediately said 'hi!' so loudly and abruptly, and with such an intense stare in my direction, that at first i thought we must be long-lost friends. i leaned my bike up against a pole and said hi back, in a soft enough voice that if she hadn't been talking to me, which i thought she might not be, given that she couldn't have looked less familiar, i wouldn't have been the odd one for doing so. she had brown frizzy hair in a ponytail on the top of her head, a little bit of a moustache, and huge inquisitive brown eyes that stared, unblinkingly, too open in what looked like wonder.
'sit down,' she said, patting the space next to her.
all right then, i thought, and said, and steadied my bike and did so.
she propped her head up with the hand that wasn't clutching her purse, sideways. 'oh, to be beautiful,' she said to herself, and to me: 'i love your hair colour. i wish i could have colour like that.'
'i used to dye it black,' i responded, after a thank you and a little reflection.
'i want to dye my hair, but my mom always whines you can't dye your hair.. but i really want to. and you know, i wish i were married to michael jackson, and that way i would have the money and time to do whatever i wanted to.'
when faced with nonlinear conversation i often go the stupid route. 'dying your hair makes it all dry and crackly. it made mine break off. your mom is probably right.'
'yeah, but you know, in the sun my hair gets highlights.. what colour does it look to you?
'red,' i say, guessing.
'yeah, red!' she looks delighted. the bus shows its green chest over the mapleton hill, and she holds out her tiny hand. 'my name is gracie what is yours..' she rattles more than exactly asks.
i tell her, and hoist my bike onto the front rack as she gets on, yelling goodbye even as i get on behind her. 'do you go to college here?' she asks.
'yes, i'm going right now. do you?'
'no, i did, but i took too much acid and burned out, and now i (almost inaudibly) ride on buses. you.. you have toes like my brother. they are nice.'
'nobody has ever said that to me before.'
'well, god gives us our unique characteristics. you have blonde hair and my brother's toes, and my brother has his toes.... i have elephant feet, so that means i.. deserve an elephant.'
my stop. you can't just say to a stranger that she doesn't deserve an elephant, right? i get the strong urge to go into the nearest barbershop and cut all my hair off, like i do when it gets this length. i want to hide my toes under jeans and show her my broken bike with its one racing tire and one mountain tire. 'i'm sure you have a job,' she says, mockingly, but i misunderstand her implication and think she's accusing me of being supported by a rich daddy.
'i do, yes,' i say back strongly and when she says
'of course'
i realize she meant it was so easy for me to get one, and i feel terrible for being so


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