One Sweet Boy (Happy New Year, Y’All!)

Sitting on the front stoop of the first house I own, just a-starin’ out at our new street, on the first day I move in. A five-year-old boy comes walking down the street alone. Where’s his mom or dad?

He walks right up my front walkway, up my front stairs, plops himself down on the stoop right next to me, and puts his hand up on my knee. Friendly-like.

“My name is Sean”, he says. “I’m five.” Then he just sits there, staring, just like I’ve been doing. But he adds a great big sigh. Way too big for his five-year-old boy’s body.

“It sounds like something’s wrong.” I say.
“It is.” says Sean. “We’re movin’ away today.”

I’ve fallen instantly in love with this small blond boy who trusts a total stranger. I’m sad too, now, to hear I’m to lose him already.

“All my friends are here,” Sean laments. “I won’t know anybody where we’re goin’.”
“Yes. That’s true.”, I say. “It will sure be hard leaving all your friends behind.”


We sit a little bit longer.

“Did you know any of your friends when you first moved here?”
“What d’you mean?”

“Well, when you moved to this street, did you know any of these kids here?”

“And now they’re your friends, right?”

“So, maybe the same thing will happen at your new house.”

I stay quiet, letting him think about that.

“Yeeahh…you could be right.”

A little more think time. Then I ask:

“Do you want a cookie? I just baked some.” (Happy day!!)

We sit and eat some cookies.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
“Well, I’d better go back home now.”
(Noooo! So soon?)

“Okay. It was nice meeting you. Good luck in your new place.”
“Thanks. Bye.”
Sean was the first neighbor I met on my new street, and the first one to leave.
Two years later, I gave birth to my first son.

Anyone want to guess his name?

A certain son is referred to by Justin in other posts on this blog. Just roll with it.

My comments on Grandmalin’s Just Jazzy post may or may not be pertinent.



A Woman’s Truth At Every Age

I learned the truth at 17, and all the ages in between.
If men all saw what women see, then there would be equality.

Age 11—I must endure boys at school feeling privileged to touch my body without asking. They run up behind me between every class to rub their hands down my back.

“CARPENTER’S DREAM!” they shout: Flat as a board, easy to screw.

Run away, laughing. The back-rubbing is to see if they can yet feel a bra-strap–which they cannot.

This sexist shaming by boys of pre-teen girls helps drive demand for an unnecessary new product called “junior bras”:

Cup-less flat elastic bands that fasten in the back like a bra, junior bras simultaneously represent the sexualization of female children, and their subordination.

Age 11.  This Still-Little Girl Had to Be Shamed About Not Having Breasts!?

Innocent Age 11. This LITTLE GIRL Was Shamed For Not Having Breasts!?

Age 13—My father’s friend Mr. B.—the same man who kindly carried me home once when I was hurt—is at a party thrown by my parents. He comes into my bedroom. Says “Bite the other end.”.

Leans in, inches from my face, a tiny cocktail weiner now poking out between his teeth. I back away in horror.

This is the first time any male has tried to kiss me.

Age 14—6:00pm. Summer. My friend Vicky and I are sitting on the grass in my front yard, chatting. A car slowly drives by, pulls up to the curb. A boy yells out: “Hey, you want to go to a party?” We assume it’s someone we know—the sun is in our eyes—but we decline.

Two boys, about 16, get out, run over, leap on top of us, and start tearing away at our clothes. On my front lawn, within sight of anyone who might go by. Or come out of my house. It is still light out.

Vicky and I each try, silently, to fight off our separate attackers. I now learn boys are far stronger than girls.

Across the street, Mr. G. comes out on his front porch. He is a New York City detective. He turns to go back inside.

Don’t you SEE us, Mr. G.? What’s WRONG with you?!

[*To be clear, he DIDN’T see us.]

(Why didn’t I scream? Was I breathing? I remember the boy’s fingers over my open mouth part of the time. Was everything happening so fast I was in shock? It was very fast.)

The boy atop me gets frustrated at how effectively I am resisting, so he stands up and JERKS down on my ankles, throwing my arms up over my head. That lets him leap at me long enough to tear open the buttons on my summer blouse. I am so embarrassed.

This is the first time any male has seen my breasts.

And now I am getting very scared, and I am trying to hurt the boy. So is Vicky. The boy raping her decides maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. He calls to the boy raping me, and they run back to their car, which has other boys in it. I guess they were the audience. The car drives off. Vicky and I run inside my house, fixing our clothes. We don’t tell anyone what happened.

It is interesting that the boys were eager until we grew more violently fearful. Based on my own experience working with rape survivors, terrified resistance will not normally save you.

Had these boys thought their manliness would overwhelm our femininity and we would just spread our legs and welcome them while they raped us? Could they have believed the myth that we would LIKE it?

Babe at Age !2

Happy Age 12: One Year From a Pedophile, Two From Rapists.

Age 15—I am standing at the end of a school hallway and overhear two boys, approaching, discussing me. They don’t know I can hear them. One says:

“Hey! That’s B. Outlier! She puts out!” The other boy says “Eww!! I wouldn’t do it with HER!!”

I have never even kissed a boy at a party.

Age 16–I am given my first-ever compliment from any man or boy:

“Your *ss is your best feature. You should back up to people to be introduced.”

Age 16, still—A knock at the front door. It is the boyfriend of my older sister Macy. When I open the door, he begins to yell at me furiously.

I don’t understand. What have I done to him? He is not my boyfriend. I have nothing to do with him!

He is from Italy. He is an oldest son dating an oldest daughter. That makes him responsible for the behavior of all of her siblings. And he has heard about me:

I am sleeping around. A slut. Everyone knows it. It is such common knowledge, so talked about, that word has spread from our highschool over to this man’s nearby place of work.

Even though I have still never even kissed anyone.

Exactly why does my sister’s boyfriend—or any man other than my lover or gynecologist–think it is his right to have anything to do with my vagina? Why does my entire school—and town, apparently—want to criticize what my vagina has been up to?

Whose penises are they criticizing?

Age 17–I go to Spain with the Spanish Club. Our teacher tells us ahead of time that we girls must wear only skirts. Pants will make us appear “loose” to Spaniards.

In Madrid, in the subway and in the public market, the crowds are so thick that you are pressed on all sides, unable at times to move. I cannot escape the horror when male strangers behind me choose to reach up under my skirts, push aside my underwear, and insert their filthy fingers inside my vagina.

This is the first time any male has touched me between the legs.

Age 17, still—I now have a boyfriend. After some time, I decide to have sex. But I pretend to get carried away in the heat of passion, because good girls don’t want to have sex before marriage.

Age 17, still–I summer job-seek, as do my friends. The guys are offered high-paying factory jobs, or jobs with the county. They tell of days spent goofing off. We gals hear “Guys need the work more.” or “The work’s too hard for women.” We can get only low-paid work: Chambermaids, telephone solicitors. No goofing.

Age 17, still–I tell my boyfriend I am breaking up with him. He rapes me, to try to win me back. (It doesn’t work.)

Age 17--Quite the Year.

Experienced Age 17–Quite the Year.

Babe at 17-HS Graduation YB

Age 17–Yearbook Photo. ZERO Makeup.

Age 18—My sister Macy is marrying. I am the Maid of Honor. I meet the Best Man for the first time at the rehearsal. Quietly, so that no one can hear, using many different adjectives, he tells me throughout the rehearsal how extremely ugly and offensive I am.

I am stunned, and devastated. I have always known I was extremely ugly [abusive childhood], but a freedom to despise me for it is heartbreaking. I go home that night and weep. I can tell no one. The man is a beloved friend of the entire wedding party.

He continues his secretive abusive behavior at the rehearsal dinner, and the day of the wedding.

Age 19—I have purchased my first long dress: A spaghetti-strap gown at a thrift store. It’s bronze satin, fitted at the top, sweetheart neckline, flowing skirt, with a pattern of cherry blossoms.

I model it for my friend Maria, walking across the dorm lounge to her room. On the way, a male I barely know volunteers his opinion:

“You should never wear dresses that expose your shoulders. They’re far too bony.”

I never forget his remark, and never bare my shoulders again.

Age 20—Two good-looking, intelligent men want to date me. After I choose one, the other begins to publicly insult my looks and abilities.

If a woman openly and repeatedly yelled insults about a man across lounges and volleyball courts, men and women would think her odd: Overly angry, perhaps mentally ill. I think they would start to avoid her if she persisted.

This man’s friendships with both genders continue uninterrupted. As far as I know (my friend is his friend), no one remarks on his inappropriate behavior.

Age 21—I am hit on by my 50-odd-year-old boss. (Find a young woman who hasn’t been sexually harassed at work.)

Age 22—I am hit on by my 40-odd-year-old boss. I am sickened that he had also hit on my predecessor—a 16 year-old.

Age 22—I swore I would never be a secretary. I am an Executive Secretary, serving as sole business and personal secretary for a Vice-President, and to his 45-person staff, doing all filing, supplies ordering, business typing, and maintaining of frequent updates to company and technical manuals.

A few of the males I serve never bother to learn my first or last name. One day, one of that group is standing nearby when he overhears that I have a degree in Linguistics and Literature. He says “I didn’t know you had a degree!”, and immediately tries flirting.

I tell him that I don’t respect the attitude that people who have attended college are more worthy than those who haven’t. He never quits flirting. His little brain must not have earned its degree.

Age 24–As I run or bicycle next to public roads, young men in cars yell whatever they feel like at me. Sometimes, a car swerves at me so closely it scares me half to death. Sometimes, a cup of soda with ice hits my back. More than once, while biking, I am slammed with a hand, hard, on the rear, bringing me close to crashing.

Age 25—I think I have been hired by an exciting, dynamic firm based on my stellar accomplishments in computing. I attend my first company party, where I and another female are literally cornered by the 50-plus-year-old company president and a visiting Board member.

I learn I was hired because it was assumed I will be the company Party Girl: Give a laugh and spread my legs eagerly for any male employee who wishes it.

Age 30—I am promoted to Director. A pr*ck working beneath me—M., a transfer from the user side of the house—begins spreading poisonous lies over on the user side of the house about, not only me, but our entire operation. My boss calls me in:

“What do you think we should do?”
“Well, J., here’s the problem,” I say.

“M. has been trying to get into my pants for a year, and I’m not interested. He is seriously p*ssed, and even MORE so since I started dating someone else. Now, you’ve promoted the woman who rejected him to be his boss. He will destroy this entire operation rather than report to me.”

“But you’re absolutely the best person to run the show–and we need you to get this project done!”

“I agree. But it can’t work this way, and we both know the politics: M. has to stay involved, given his connections to the upper echelons. The only way this can work is if I report to M. Then his f*cking oversized ego can stay satisfied.”

I resign as Director, accepting an invented title to keep my salary. M. is named Director and boss of me, and becomes sweetness and light.

The sh*t.

Age 35–Looking to change companies. My I.T. skills and experience should net me six figures. Nothing. A headhunter explains:

“Erase some work history, get some plastic surgery. Pass for 25.”

Really Angry Baby Face

Is THIS Young Enough?!

Age 50–The first time any woman tells me I look nice or am pretty.
Age 57–The first time any man tells me I look nice or am pretty.
Babes Ratty Face Close

Age 58–Do You Like Me NOW?

I’ll be 60 soon, but the picture was too good to waste.

A Chicago Childhood, Aspie-Style

This post is long? Too many words? Good bet your pals aren’t Aspie nerds!

When I am almost three, we move to Chicago, to a cozy brick house on a corner with a front stoop, and back wooden stairs.

Brick Stoop

In the summer, the tall hedge between our back yard and the neighbors’ looks like a fairyland. It is covered in lightning bugs lighting up and turning off their rear ends. It’s very, very pretty to see every summer night.

Coke Bottle Fireflies Animated Gif

Our Hedge Had This Many, All Over It

I am sitting out on the front stoop one day when a bird lands next to me. I have never seen such a bird before! It is a very bright red, and it has the most unusual head I have ever seen. I am so excited, I run inside to tell my mommy about it:

“Mommy! There’s a red bird outside, and it has a point on its head!”

Smiling Cardinal on Berry Branch

See him grin at how photogenic he is?

She says that it is a “cardinal”. From then on, I always like to see cardinals. They have very cute pointy heads, and I will forever think they are special.

Our back yard has violets that grow among the grass. They’re beautiful and if you pick them, they smell nice.


Dime-Sized or Smaller Blooms

There are also some pea plants growing in the grass. That is because we enjoy having big pea-shooter wars with the boys who live down the street. We duck under the back wooden stairs to shoot our peas from a safe place.

The hard dried peas really sting when they hit you, but the wars are fun. It costs a nickel to buy a shooting straw with a small paper bag of peas.

Pea Shooter and Peas


The boys we war with are Stewie and Howie. They’re the same boys who put on puppet shows on some Saturdays. All the kids go to them. They are pretty good. A lot of times, they make us laugh.

The shows are free, but the bags of popcorn cost a nickel. Since everyone buys popcorn, I guess Stewie and Howie do all right for themselves.

My best friend Sharon lives kitty-corner [diagonally] from us. Her big sister is my big sister Joe’s best friend, so that is nice.

Some wild kids live next to Sharon’s house. They are all boys, and there are a lot of them. Sometimes, they take things that don’t belong to them. One day, one of them takes my Blue Fairy book and runs into his house with it. I am really sad and mad. It is my favorite book, and I want it back.

I tell my daddy, and he tells the boys’ daddy. The boys’ daddy goes into their house and comes out with a book he thinks is the right one. He gives it to me. It is not the Blue Fairy book. It is the Green Fairy book. I want my own book back, but I’m too embarrassed to tell him that he got the wrong book. At least the Green Fairy book is a good book, too.

Next door to our house is Jimmy Nothnagel. Jimmy is the luckiest kid ever, because he has a real set of playground monkey bars in his own back yard. They’re the kind that are shaped like a standing-up tube with the bars rounding off at the top.

That is our perfect rocket ship when we play Rocky Jones. Jimmy plays Rocky, and Joe always gets to play Rocky’s girlfriend, Venus*. It isn’t fair. I want to be Venus sometimes.

Rocky Jones and Vena

Dang, Venus! 😮 Good Thing There’s No Wind in Space!

Joe and I watch Rocky Jones and Buck Rogers and Commando Cody on television, and we also watch some Westerns. One day, while we are watching Wyatt Earp**, the phone rings and I answer it. The man asks to talk to our mommy.

I ask him who he is, because I have been taught how to answer a phone the right way. He says his name is Wyatt Earp! I tell Joe, and we both go running into the kitchen.

“Mommy! Wyatt Earp is on the phone!! He’s calling us!!”

It is pretty disappointing when our mommy tells us later that it wasn’t the real Wyatt Earp. It was just an insurance salesman who had Wyatt Earp’s name.

Do you think he tried to call people during that show’s time on purpose, so they would talk to him because they thought it was the TV man?

Joe and I go to the bakery by ourselves when our mommy needs a loaf of bread. It is safe for little girls to walk by themselves through the city and go to the bakery.

Every time we go to buy the bread, the baker gives us a big bag of broken cookie pieces, and we get to eat some on the way home. We love going to the bakery.

Whenever it rains outside, we get very excited, and run to our mommy. She gives us our bathing suits, and a bar of soap. We go outside in our bathing suits and have a soapy shower in the rain. It’s a lot of fun.

Sometimes, we sail our soap boats down the river that the rain makes on the side of the road.

Ivory Snow Soap Boats

One day, we’re playing in that river. We’re making a dam of leaves and pieces of wood stuck in the sewer opening, so that the river starts to turn into a lake. When the cars drive through it, very slowly, they make big waves.

A grown-up comes outside and tells us that we’d better not do that, because the sewers are very important to take the rain water away, and if we dam them up, and other kids do that, the city will flood!

We get very worried, and take apart our dam. We never make that bad thing again.

One summer night, my mommy and daddy are going to have a backyard party. My mommy makes some special food for the party. One plate has little flowers on it that you can eat! Mommy says they are “radish roses”. She lets me taste one, and it is delicious.

Mommy goes inside to make more special food. When she comes back outside, the flower plate is empty. I ate all the roses. Every one of them was just as delicious.

During the party, I watch the lightning bugs decorate the twinkling hedge all night.

On Saturdays, we can go to school if we want to. I can go, too, even before I’m old enough yet for school. Saturdays they have play time at the school.

One time, when Joe takes me, they are playing the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. The children make a line, and take turns being the goats, and climb over a school desk—that is the bridge. I get my turn to be the troll underneath.

I am sitting under the desk, and the first little billy goat comes trip-trap trip-trap over the bridge. As she trip-traps across the desk, her little goat leg comes hanging down in front of the mean troll. The tender goat flesh looks delicious, and I am a mean troll who is going to eat her.

After I bite her hard on the calf, the teacher won’t let me be the troll any more, even though I thought I was doing a very good job.

It's Called ACTing, Lady.

It’s Called ACTing, Lady.

Sometimes, a tired man comes up our backyard wooden steps and knocks on our back kitchen door. It’s a different man every time, but he always has old clothes on. My mommy makes a big meat sandwich for him and gives him something to drink. I know this is my mommy being nice.

One day, my daddy is outside. He is feeding peanuts to the squirrels, because he likes to do that. When he comes inside this time, his thumb is bleeding a lot. The squirrel thought his thumb was a peanut, and he bit it.

Apology Squirrel

One time, my daddy is gone for a long time. When he comes home, I don’t remember him. A big man with shiny teeth and shiny glasses tries to bend over and hug me, and I am scared of him. It takes me a long time to remember my daddy again.

Joe and I have a lot of fun inside our house, not just outside. We do two things that are fun:

We can stand up on the big padded rocker and hold onto the back, facing it, and rock really hard. Sometimes, the rocker tips over. That is scary, but the next time we still rock on it again.

Another thing we do is on the stairs. The stairs to the upstairs have blue carpet on them. We sit on a mattress and slide on it down the stairs all the way to the bottom, like we’re riding a sled. We do it over and over.

One time at night, I am very sick. I can’t get any breath, and I am feeling scared. My mommy takes me out of bed and carries me downstairs, and rocks me and rocks me in that big padded rocker until we see the sun rise.

She sings “Turra-Lurra-Lurra” to me. I like that song.

One day, I am out on the front sidewalk, riding my red tricycle.
I am leaning low over the handlebars, peddling and peddling as hard as I can. I want to see how fast I can go. I am happy. I can go very fast!

Happy Child on Red Tricycle

Look At ME!!!

The tricycle hits a bump, and I tip over forward. My chin hits the sidewalk.

It happens in front of the Nothnagels’ house, and that is where my mommy is. I go up their stairs and into their living room. Blood is coming out of my chin.

My mommy is sitting talking with Mrs. Nothnagel, and she is also sewing some red corduroy overalls that are small. Maybe they are for my little brother. When she sees me come in, she takes the needle out and pushes the red pants onto my red chin. I think that is pretty interesting.

I don’t remember hurting. I have a nice scar now.

Another time I get cut is when I am chasing my big sister. She is escaping, and I don’t want her to. She runs out the kitchen door.

I put my hand out to push it open and chase after her. My hand goes through the door glass.

I remember sitting in the kitchen chair afterward with the sun shining in the window and my mommy doing something with a cloth. After that, we are at the doctor.

I get to see the inside of my wrist before he sews it shut. I like to see what the inside looks like. I didn’t know it looked like that!

One thing I really like about Chicago is getting to go to the fires.

Whenever there is an old, run-down house, the firefighters drive around the neighborhood and pick us kids up. We get to ride on their big firetruck and watch them burn the house down!

There is nothing better than that, I think!

Happy Girl At House Fire



* Venus’s correct name was Vena, but we thought it was Venus. Our name makes more sense for a space-explorer.

** Wyatt Earp was a real person

What Not to Give Your Mother-in-Law for Christmas

“Who is this?”

“Danny’s Demolition. We’re offering a 20% discount this week on tear-downs and we heard there’s an immediate need at your address.”

I pounded END, and added even MORE egg powder to the bowl.

Then I turned back to Hell House.

I was twenty-five years old and had never before tried to bake and assemble a gingerbread house, but how hard could it be?  I was a decent cook, and a pretty good baker.

I did have a habit of not following recipes exactly, but I thought that, in this case, I’d better.  This house was to be the very first Christmas gift for my future mother-in-law. I was going to impress her. 🙄

The house would have cobblestones–halved hazelnuts–coating the chimney and the low walls surrounding its snowy yard.   The windows would be glowing stained glass, formed the way lollipops are made, by melting, coloring, and candying sugar syrup.

At no point did my fiance Joe let me know that his mother had worked for years as a professional baker, decorating cakes–including gingerbread cottages. 😡

I slid my first-ever gingerbread roof and wall pieces from the oven. Perfect! After they cooled, I began the assembly process with the stiff, dry Royal Icing, made per the instructions, using toothpicks and books to pin and prop pieces in place until the icing dried and held.

Except it never did. I may as well have been constructing a house of cards in a breezy causeway. As soon as the icing dried, and I removed pins and props, it was Jericho all over again.

Cheesy Walls of Jericho

Does This Pre-Fallen Model of Jericho’s Walls Look a Little Cheesy to You?

Again and again I re-propped and re-glued, and again and again roof and walls came crashing down. Soon, each crash was accompanied by a soft, swishing sound, like slush falling:
followed by a sharper rapping sound, like when sleet hits:


Those sounds kept repeating, growing rapidly in volume as the “Shhh–it” storm increased in its fury.  Then, the sleet apparently turned to rain, for drops suddenly began falling down upon the hellish house, causing the Royal Icing to develop Royal Dripsicles.

I sat down and finished bawling. Then I sat back and took an objective look at Hell House as it stood thus far:

After multiple crashes into the snowy interior, the swayback roof now sagged dangerously, and the two halves had a noticeable gap between.  One corner of the house failed to meet its neighboring corner by almost a half-inch.  And there wasn’t a prayer of the stained glass windows fitting their openings.

Gingerbread Boy Vampires

I Envisioned the Home’s Only Future Occupants

What to do?! ❓

Hmmm… There WAS a bit of ginger-y dough remaining… 💡

…A sleigh and Santa could close the open roof…
…A cypress tree could mask the gaping corner…
…Some simple window sashes could disguise the too-short lollipanes! 🙂

As for that Royal Pain-in-the-Icing, if more cream of tartar didn’t do the trick, I’d get the caulk gun, dammit.

At last.  Finished. Ho-ho-hope future Mom liked it, because by now, she was the only one who would.

All that remained was to pack the house inside a giant box and carry it on a plane.

Eight hours later, I was in future mom’s kitchen, performing Royal Splicing on Santa and his sleigh. Reattaching a roof. Performing Christmas miracles with a broken cypress tree–or was it a cedar of Lebanon?

All of this effort accompanied by more slushy, sleety sound effects–in the spirit of the season.

On the blessed day, upon opening the box, Santa and his sleigh were found to be sliding dangerously backward down a ridgeline into an ice-skating pond of Royal Goo, congealed in the deepest depression of the roof’s swayback.

Future mom wisely did not comment upon this, recognizing the situation for the slippery slope it was. 😉

After the story of its unique local weather conditions was told by Joe, The Gingerbread House from Hell was rechristened forever The Sh*t House. I was so traumatized by the experience that it was almost ten years until I made another gingerbread house.

* * *

It didn’t come out any better!

Dinosaur Eating Gingerbread House

“Call for the Royal Caulk!”

Christmastime Bus Ride in Ohio, Years Ago

Man standing, back to me, knit hat on, light clothes, medium build. Mason’s trowel in right hand,

Masons Trowel

arm back, trowel pointed at other standing man. Yelling at other man.

Other man stocky, darker skin and clothes, yelling back at first man. Waving arms.

All else has gone quiet. Bus is still rolling along. Everybody watching. Everybody sitting back into their seats.

Trowel man makes some jabbing moves at dark man. Woman near dark man jumps from her seat, rushes into next open one for protection. New seat only two feet from old seat. What protection?

Driver been ignoring this. Bus been making stops.

Trowel-man’s stop comes. He gets off, still yelling. Something bout “gun” and “knife”–who knows what crazy people yell in their crazy times? Who remembers anything but their own fear?

I watch him walk away, looking around all angry and suspicious.

Suspicious Homeless Man

Now it’s Dark Man’s turn. He sits down, but then jumps up and yells:

“Anybody else want to attack me?!” (Nobody does.) “I didn’t THINK so! Gettin’ tired of people tryin’ to KILL me all the time!”

Sits down. Half-stands up and says loudly,

“The white women weren’t scared. Everbody else was, but YOU–the WHITE women weren’t scared!”

Sits down. Puts on headphones and arms start waving all over, keeping time. Not clear if those headphones are connected to a music source.

Says, loudly, “I gotta’ have my music. I ain’t got a woman, so I gotta have my music. You understand that, my man? (To no one.) I know you do!”

Laughs. Bangs arms around some more. Says,

“My blood pressure went way up. Went up eleven mill– mill– millimeters. It’s coming down now, though. It’s down to about eight millimeters now.”

More waving.

“You understand, I thought he had a knife or gun or something like that. I didn’t know he had no mason’s trowel. I wouldn’t have been scared if I’d known he had no mason’s trowel. You understand what I mean?”

Young woman sitting near me is trying not to laugh. She sets me off so I have to look down, too.

I don’t want to smile. I don’t want anyone to smile. If he sees us, what will he do?

Dark Man jumps up suddenly, mad at something. Throws things at floor and bus seats. Slams his hands hard on the seat back.

The bus comes to the next stop. He gets off.

I start to breathe.

Phew That Was Close


What kind of Christmas story was THAT?! A true one. I copied it almost word-for-word from notes I hurriedly scribbled on the bus right after it happened, because I didn’t want to forget.

If you drive a car, you have another reason to be happy this Christmas. Think about that the next time you’re stuck in traffic.
(But only if you want to.)


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