The Unremarkable Man on the Route 46 Bus

An unremarkable man, wearing an unremarkable pair of jeans and unremarkable long sleeved shirt, stepped onto the Route 46 bus as it juddered to a halt at the Route 46 bus-stop. He flashed his monthly bus-pass at the driver who waved him into the interior of the bus (without looking at the man’s unremarkable picture and name on the bus-pass). The man walked unobtrusively into the bus, which was quite a feat as it was an early Monday morning and the bus was packed full of early Monday morning commuters, dressed in suits or geared up for the gym.

There were, of course, no seats available on the bus, and so the man had no choice but to hold onto one of the rails and stand, in an unremarkable fashion, as the bus began trundling out of the station with much clanking, banging and groaning.

It was good that two other passengers had gotten on at the same stop as the man had, or the people on the bus would have been very confused as to the reason the bus driver had stopped. No passengers had gotten off, and nobody had actually noticed the unremarkable man got on the bus at all, so it was good that the old man and his small granddaughter had been waiting at that particular Route 46 bus-stop as well. When people looked over as the unremarkable man, their gazes slid off him and they would focus on their neighbor’s magazine or the sunlight outside or the Route 46 map that hung right above the man.

The unremarkable man, used to this sort of treatment, didn’t even try to dominate the space he stood in. Instead, he let the space float around him and he let people’s eyes slide away from him, and he focused on his first project of the morning: the little girl who had gotten on with the old man at that particular Route 46 bus-stop. The girl was almost as unremarkable as the man, he thought; she was quiet, focused only on the ragged teddy-bear in her arms, and seemed not to notice her grandfather’s wheezing and coughing as he unfolded a newspaper and ignored her. The girl’s hair was an unremarkable brown, not shiny or bouncy or curly, but simply lying limply and often obscuring her face as it swung back and forth with the motion of the bus. The girl’s face, half hidden by the unremarkable hair, was plain and expressionless as she stared at the teddy-bear on her lap and twisted his ears in an absentminded way.

The unremarkable man was usually drawn to flashy characters – women in orange spandex suits fiddling with their sunglasses and purses, clowns on their ways to birthday parties looking grumpy and hot in their makeup and outfits, suited men and women who seemed only to be waiting for their next cigarette and who shouted on their cellphones. Today, though, the unremarkable man decided he was interested in an unremarkable girl. He focused his thoughts on her, and her eyes snapped up to look into his. And there it was, for a split second.

…grandaddy is so boring he’s reading the newspaper again and mr. snuffles is bored because i’m bored too and why does grandaddy have to take me to kindergarten anyway i mean he isn’t as funny as mommy is on the bus and anyway he doesn’t talk to mr. snuffles like mommy or daddy do and i’m hungry but grandaddy said that buying ice-cream early in the morning would make my teeth rotten but i don’t care because i like dr. leslie that dentist who mommy took me to because she gave me a sticker and a lolly-pop and said i was a good little girl and that my teeth would never be rotten if i kept coming to see her and mommy laughed and patted my hair and said we’ll keep coming back to see dr. leslie and miriam is going to bring me a brownie her mom made today to kindergarten and maybe mommy will pick me up and grandaddy won’t be with her anyd then i won’t have to sleep at his house tonight and i’ll be able to go home and watch barnie with mommy and then go to bed with my yellow blankets and mr. snuffles will be happy because mommy will sing us a lullaby

The unremarkable man broke his eye-contact with the girl, who promptly turned away and continued to twist Mr. Snuffle’s worn-out ears. The man almost gasped. His brow was dripping with sweat. For a moment, everyone on the bus almost noticed him standing there. Then the moment passed, and the man calmed himself, smiling in such a manner which in anyone less unremarkable would seem to be amused. I’VE GOTTEN LAZY, thought the unremarkable man. I’LL HAVE TO FIND SOME MORE LIKE THAT GIRL. SUCH VIVIDNESS COULD LAST FOR WEEKS. WHO KNOWS? MAYBE OTHERS LIKE HER WILL MAKE ME REAL AGAIN.

“I’m a genre too, you know,” squeaked the little book sadly.

So sue me. I like reading books that are written well but that are also readable. Books that I can enjoy reading without having to strain my brain enough that reading three pages makes me exhausted for the whole day. I like reading books with a good story- something exciting, interesting, philosophical and enthralling by turns.

You know what books fall under those catagories quite often? Fantasy books, sci-fi books. I wish people would stop looking down on books of those genres. Have you read Orson-Scott Card? Neil Gaiman? Terry Pratchett and China Meville? If you haven’t then how the hell can you make a polite but mocking face when you look at the book I’m reading?!

I loved Jane Eyre, I loved Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed A Clockwork Orange immensely. But those classics are still not as enjoyable, fun orĀ  wonderful to me as books such as American Gods or Un-Lun-Dun or Ender’s Game.

So please, World-At-Large, stop looking at fantasy and sci-fi as non-genres.

Routine Dullness

TA-DUM-ta-ta-dum-ta-ta-ta-TA-TA-DUM-ta-ta-ta-ta-dum-TA-DUM!

Every soundtrack of every action film ever made is the exact same thing. Same rhythm. Same tones. Same beat. It’s amazing that we still enjoy action movies at all. And yet we do – we all still shiver in our seats when that music blares out of the movie-theater speakers. Some of us just develop this mechanism not to recognize the dull fact that we’re seeing the same things over and over, doing the same things again and again.

Another example of this are those people who forget jokes. You can tell them the same ole’ knock-knock jokes five times in a month and they’ll still burst out laughing every time and say that “That was a good one! I’ve never heard it before!” It’s rather incredible if you think about it.

I suppose it’s lucky though, because if we didn’t have that as human beings then we’d realize how amazingly boring our routines can be. We’d need to go out and complete more and more insane stunts to keep ourselves interested. Actually, come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea – there are too many people on the planet anyway.

“Women, Media and Conflict: A Gendered View of the Media Coverage of the Lebanon War”

This was the title of the lecture and panel I attended tonight with Sir. B. F. who volunteers with Keshev, the orginization hosting this event. I shall proceed with a review of the lecture. Perhaps not a relevant one, but a review nontheless.

First of all, it was hosted in a very small room, which was fitting for the small amount of people who attended. What was less fitting and more amusing was holding this sort of discussion in a room that held very large photographs of Bette Davis, Judy Garland and Ingrid Burgman. Because what did these three beauties of Hollywood do for femenism?

The man sitting in front of me was the husband of the woman who published the paper on the topic above. He was very intent on telling people off who weren’t listening or being quiet enough for his taste, but then he answered his cellphone twice and whispered fiercely into it, answered SMS messages on said cellphone, kept looking at his watch and at the door at the back of the room to see who was coming in and fidgeted unnecessarily and loudly. I can see you give quite a lot of respect to your opinionated wife, Mr. Fidget.

Lastly, a lot of what was said was interesting and relevant, but then a lot of it also wasn’t. The panel sadly turned into a bitchy cat-fight of women talking over each other and disagreeing loudly with each other over issues of how women were and are portrayed in the media. One of the women, the speaker I related to most, actually left the room after a woman from the audience criticized her for needing to leave early to take care of her children. I do not know how the fact that she failed to hire a babysitter for that night was relevant to the feminist discussion in any way, and yet in our lovely Israeli society, it seems things always go off track and get personal.

Thus concludes my mostly irrelevent report of the evening.

Dramatic Excercises

You’re going fast. Your blood is racing in your veins and your heart is pounding loud and clear. Sweat is pouring down your back, your neck, your chest. You’re drenched with the stuff. You realize that it wasn’t your imagination – your worst fear really is coming up fast. Right in front of you.

Another person, going just as fast as you and drenched with less sweat – they’re coming up, their headphone wires dangling, their eyes averted. But the moment of truth must come. You both look up, meet each others wild and unpredictable gaze, and then just as quickly look away and keep going. You sigh out of relief as much as for the oxygen. The awful moment of meeting the eyes of a fellow Walker has now passed!

Oh! But look there, in the distance! A back! Not a sweaty, face-bearing front, but a back! Just as sweat drenched perhaps, but not bearing that horrible awkward gaze. Oppertunity arises. Your blood beats faster as you quicken your pace, trying to out-do your unaware opponent. Is he on to you? Is he? No, he seems blessedly ignorant of his fate. Soon, as your heart is wildly protesting your increase in speed, you manage to walk briskly past your opponent. Success! The opponent is too slow, and though he tries to catch up to you, the game is already lost for him. He will have to admit defeat. He was the slower Walker.

Lastly, as you’re drawing nearer and nearer to your destination – home and the shower – you catch a glimpse of the Undefeated. These Undefeated are so much faster than you, so much sleeker, their hearts so much stronger. These are the Runners. You duck your head in shame and anger at them and march on to your destination, not looking up until you’re safe in your haven. You have passed the daily test. You have Walked.

So let’s get the ball rolling.

I wonder how that term was coined. I would assume from some sort of sport, but who knows. I do know one thing though – if I ever have to run a business meeting of some sort, and I have to say that sentence [and all heads-of-meetings have to say it] then I’ll literally get a ball rolling and we can have a nice game of table-top football while we’re brainstorming. I think that sort of work environment could be more pleasant for everyone.

Yesterday I went to the most peculiar beach with Sir B. F. It was a beach all right, with the mandatory bar and restaurant not far from it. The beach itself wasn’t the odd thing though really. It was the sea. They had roped in part of the sea. Yes, roped in. There was a big rope with floating plastic bobbing things on it roping in a small section of the sea. I found this a blatant and disturbing attempt to control the great ocean! Quite fitting, as it was in a city named after the greatest conqueror of all time basically, Caesar.

The thing that really got to me though was that human beings can hold their breaths and we could’ve swum UNDER the rope and gotten to the rest of the ocean. Geniuses.