Thursday, May 19, 2005

Wheels on the Bus

“Hang on to something, please, Lillie! I don’t want you to fall down.”

The cross town bus was crowded, as is typical after school.

Lillie put her hand lightly against her brother’s backpack.

“No Lillie, hold on to the pole! You have to be safe!”

She put a second hand on her brother’s backpack.

I hate it when she does this. Crowded buses are not the place for power plays. I lean down and whisper.

“Lillie, what you are doing is not safe. You can get hurt. You must hold on to the pole.”

She glowers in derision.

A young woman sitting next to the contested pole stood. “She can have my seat.” She was wearing a school uniform—short plaid skirt, white polo shirt.

“Thanks, you are kind, but . . .”

Lillie hopped into the seat.

“Oh, now that it’s a done deal, thanks again.”

“I don’t mind,” she blushed.

At the first stop after the bus crossed the park, about half the passengers exited, freeing more seats. The kids sat on one bench, and I sat on a single seat. Lillie wanted to sit next to me, but that seat was taken by the school girl.

“Oh, I can trade seats with her.”

“No really, you don’t have to . . .” But she had already stood. Lillie rushed to fill the seat.

“Well, thanks again!”

On city buses and subways, there is a protocol of anonymity. One is expected to avoid eye contact, and to retreat into a private inner space where neighboring conversations are not overheard.

That protocol sometimes evaporates when young children are involved.

People smile at things my kids say, or comment on how cute they are, or scowl because, I don’t know, the planet was crowded enough before I started breeding so prodigiously.

Lillie and I were talking about the earlier incident, and then goofing about her friend Constance.

The school girl was watching us, smiling.

We reached our stop. Jason collected his trumpet and backpack, Collie got his things, and I grabbed Lillie’s backpack.

The school girl stepped off ahead of us.

We all stood at the corner together, waiting to cross.

Collie was talking to me as Jason loudly hummed “America” into his mouthpiece—he often carries it around to practice.

“Cindy was mad at Maxwell, why I don’t know,” Collie went on, gesturing for added emphasis. “But get this: suddenly Maxwell looked like he was gong to be mad at me, and so I told him . . .”

“Excuse me a moment, please, Collie, “ I interrupted.

I turned to Jason. “Will you PLEASE shut up, PLEASE?!” I barked in a playful rant. He nearly jumped out of his skin. “What is this, a parade?”

The kids laughed.

The school girl burst into giggles.

“You think that’s funny?,” I asked her. “Check this out: you know who Howard Stern is, right?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“You are about to walk into him.”

Howard Stern was walking up the sidewalk. She moved to avoid him, nearly falling off the curb.

She turned on her heels. “That was Howard Stern!”

“Cool, huh? We often pass him on this same block, at this same time, on this same weekday. Like clockwork.”

“My friends don’t believe it,” Jason said.

“Where do you go to school?” the school girl asked. He told her.

“Some of my friends went there. I’m a senior at Brearly.” She tossed her shoulder length hair.

“Oh, congratulations, “ I said. “I suppose you are going to graduate soon.”

“Three weeks! And then, I suppose I am just going to hang around the city next year.”

Lillie was watching closely.

“Daddy has a girl friend, Daddy has a girl friend!”

“Lillie, please.”

“Daddy has a girl friend, Daddy has a girl friend!”

There was no way to stop this chant, so better to be good-natured now and discuss it with her later. “Yes, Lillie, I would like you to meet my new girl friend.”

Lillie stopped in her tracks.

“No Lillie, not my girl friend. Kidding!”

The school girl laughed, covering her mouth.

“Sorry. The kids get silly.”

“They take after their dad, obviously.” Her smiles began when she scrunched her freckled nose.

“Guilty as charged. These little acorns did not fall far from the tree."

We chatted as we walked a little further. Then she stopped. “Well, this is where I turn.” She looked down, then at me. “Do you mind if I give you my phone number?”

“Oh, uh . . .”

It was clear from the look in her eyes that she wanted me.

She wanted me to call her, to see if she was free on a Saturday night.

She wanted to come to my apartment, and stay up late.

She wanted me to call her at all hours, to say I would be coming to her after I was finished with whatever I was doing.

She wanted to tell me, stay out as long as you like. I will be here when you get home.

She made it plain: she wanted to be my very own . . .


“Your kids are so cool! They are like my brothers and sisters. I’d love to take care of them.”

“Well, thanks, I do need a sitter sometimes.” I looked at the paper she had handed me. “Thanks, uh . . .”


“Thanks, Gillian. See you.”

“Bye!” She crossed west, the kids and I crossed south.

We walked quietly for a moment.

“Daddy has a girl friend, Daddy has a girl friend!”

I put my hand on Lillie’s shoulders.

“I wish you wouldn’t do that.”

school girl
Howard Stern


JO said...

i have that very same outfit ;)

Anonymous said...

just two points
1. it's spelled brearley (i'm a former student)
2. brearley girls don't wear uniforms (or schoolgirl outfits at all) after the last semester of 8th this girl might actually be a lot younger than you thought...

Jefferson said...

Guilty as charged, Anonymous.

I changed the school girl's name and school affiliation. My brain was too weak to come up with a good fake school name, so I made her a Brearley girl.

I can correct the spelling--or, if you like, you can propose a fake prep school name. Want to take a stab?

I should say that Howard Stern's guest appearance really is Howard Stern.

Jo, I have just one question for you:

Can you babysit?

Viviane said...

She wants to come over to your apartment and surf the web on your computer. And ooh la la, that AIM list! Bad idea, since I won't be around to bail you outta Rikers! ;-D

JO said...

My dear, dear Jefferson,

The only thing I am interested in looking after is your tongue, as it's planted firmly in between my legs. ;)

Jefferson said...

Ahem. Well, Jo, you certainly provide a good excuse for me to call in a babysitter.

Colton said...

I was just telling Madeline yesterday that I missed hearing about your chillun's Jefferson.

Pleased to hear their doing well.

Oh, and, "Daddy's got a girl friend! Daddy's got a girl friend!"

ThreeOliveMartini said...

i think daddy has several ..


Mitzi said...

You do realize if Howard Stern were to catch wind of this blog, see himself mentioned in it, see how much wild and crazy sex you are having, he would very likely

a)Talk about it on air

and b) Hunt you down.

The fact that there is man on man action is probably not of much interest and, perhaps a slight deterant to H.S.

But... you are sexing enough women, have enough women sexing eachother in your house, and have enough threesomes and orgies to make him drool.

You Filthy Animal.

Jefferson said...

If Howard Stern wants me, he knows where to find me.

I'll be on the same corner, at the same time, on the same weekeday.

Viviane said...

We should print out a copy of the blog and send it to him. Or, start a write-in campaign

Jenna said...

In just a few short years you have gone from being "married guy" to being a guy whose life is potential fodder for the Howard Stern show.

You stud...


Colton said...

I apologize now for my punctuation, and typing "their" when I meant "they're."

You'd think I'd not spent 13 years chasing the academic dragon.

Any volunteers to accept my punishment? I think some teasing is in order. Isn't Meg headed up your way around this time next week?

Jefferson said...

Colton, are you trolling my blog for submissives?

Get your own blog!

Oh wait . . . you have one.

And it is hot.