There are few seams as rich in character as the number 25 bus on a Friday night.
Last night’s compelling passengers were a luckless man and his hatchet-faced girlfriend. They were having a tiff, and while the precise origin was unclear it was apparent that a third party had made a comment about her mother. The man was attempting to cheer her up, but failed to understand that she wanted to remain upset. This was her crisis and any attempt to point out that she was needling herself needlessly would be a grave insult.
“I didn’t mean to trivialise it,” he pleaded as the girl ruffled her hair in anguish, folded her arms and showed him her profile. I laughed out loud when she finished him off by reaching into her bag and pulling out Henry James’s Washington Square, a novel so quintessentially the tale of a bitter old maid betrayed by her lover that I wondered whether she kept the book in her handbag for just such occasions.
The words he was looking for were: “Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: you.”
(originally posted April 17, 2004)