Do You Hear What I Hear (Three) / by Courtney Mehlhaff

Okay, this was a great one.  As often happens after a long day of staring at a computer screen, I nodded off on the bus ride home.  Typically, this is an uneventful little nap that's punctuated by brief spasms as I'm startled awake every time we hit a major bump.  No doubt my head lolling around and my limbs jerking every which way are hilarious to observers, and that's why I do it, really.  For the entertainment value.

Anyway, on this particular day, I snapped awake in the middle of a catfight between a black woman and a flamboyantly gay man sitting across from me in the back of the bus.  Why anyone would tangle with such a woman, I don't even pretend to know.  Maybe he thought he could out-diva her.  

In any case, it's important to note that not only was she holding her own in the on-board verbal exchange, but she was also giving a play-by-play to whomever she was talking to on her cell phone. Here's what I awoke to in my foggy stupor.

Woman: "You need to shut your mouth!”

Me:  (Shit, I can't believe I missed the first part of this!)

Man: “You better shut YOUR mouth!”   

Woman:  “You saw I was on the phone when you sat down.”   

Man:  “You need to be more courteous to the people around you.”  

Woman into phone:  “Girl, I know he didn’t just tell me to get off my phone.” 

Me: (Oh, it is ON!)

Man: “I’m going to get you kicked off this bus.”   

Me:  (You and what army?)

Woman into phone:  “Girl, something wrong with him!”   

At this point, the man exited the bus in a huff, and I quit worrying about how I was going to revive him before the paramedics arrived.  But just as things were settling down, this skinny white teenage boy who had also overheard everything thought it was the perfect moment to interject.  He leaned over to the woman and said very casually, "He's probably just racist."

[Insert uncomfortable silence as the woman looked the boy over, deciding whether or not to end him.]

Woman into phone:  “Girl, he’s probably just racist.”