Husband and I returned from my granny’s funeral last night. It wasn’t late, so to save money, we took the dreaded M60 bus home. (I almost always have some sort of horrific experience on this route, whether due to traffic, overcrowding, or more dramatically, a woman insisting that the man sitting next to her on the bus is sexually harassing her and thus calls 911, and put the call on speaker phone so the overcrowded bus can hear as we sit in traffic.) The bus was a little crowded, but not awful.
A middle-aged man sat across the aisle from me, chatting loudly with a young girl I assumed was his daughter. Mostly I paid no attention to them. However, as we approached the Astoria-Ditmas stop, the man swirled around in his seat, and flailed his arms. “Is this where we get off to take the N train to midtown so we can transfer at Times Square to go uptown?” he asked no one in particular. I looked at him. It was Richard Kind:
Yes, the guy my granny would have enjoyed on “The Carole Burnett Show,” who she may have watched on “Mad About You,” and also on “Spin City.” He actually lives in my neighborhood. I have seen him wandering around in a clueless manner on several occasions. It was just funny to see him on the dreaded M60 bus, also clueless. I thought that Granny would have gotten a kick out of it.
I debated telling him that he could stay on the bus to 125th and take the 2 or 3 downtown, but I worried that I would seem like a stalker, and he got off before I could say anything once I decided that I would just seem like a helpful, not scary fellow bus rider. This is too bad because the second part of our adventure took place on the subway train. Once the train pulled out of the station, some (drunk?) ornery fellow at the end of the car began yelling randomly. Then a station or two later, a young woman stepped into the car.
“Hello everyone,” she announced. “I’m struggling right now, and pregnant, so I am going to sing you a song and if you like it, you can give me a contribution. I’ll also take clapping and smiles if you don’t have money to give.”
I braced myself – she looked like she was going to be a horrible screecher. She took a deep breath, and the first notes came out. I was floored: it was like Adele was standing right in front of me. Everyone in the train was quiet while she belted out “Rollin’ in the Deep,” even the shouter at the end. When she finished, there were a few seconds of silence. then the shouter yelled, “BOOOOOOO!” but was immediately drown out by applause. She collected some dollar bills from appreciative riders. (I considered asking her if she wanted to be pregnant, and if not, giving her the number to the New York Abortion Access Fund, but she got off the train before I had a chance.)
The whole commute was one of those times when my faith in humanity was, temporarily, restored.