...on the 21/22, connecting me to my old Eastside neighborhood, a 30-ish woman got on, accompanied by a trolling hipster (on crutches--symbolism). This same woman, I'd seen for the past couple of years in the mornings, usually accompanied by her toddler son, Jude. (Jude is a determined little charmer, always marching on the bus and claiming his seat, sometimes smiling broadly, sometimes giving people a "what you talkin' bout Willis" look.) I wondered about them. The mother looked like she was married to an academic; she didn't seem overly pretentious herself, only borderline so, but she looked pretty and intelligent, like someone an academic man might choose. One day on campus I saw Jude not with his mother, but with a man in his early 30s, wearing a typical "summertime academic" outfit: A long-sleeved see-through Philippino shirt with a white T-shirt underneath, khaki pants, hiking boots, and an academically approved jaunty straw hat. As soon as I saw him, I thought: "Perfect." He looked like a bit of a pretentious ass (I find that people who dress for the occasion -- like "summer in Austin" -- are almost always pretentious asses). After a few months, I saw the three together on the bus: The couple sat side-by-side, never saying a word to each other. "What a dick," I thought.
Last week on the bus, the woman got on, sans Jude, in the middle of a conversation with the trolling hipster/crutches guy. Because of him, I learned her age (29); where she worked (at a learning center on campus); her college major (Biology); what her husband does (it's her ex-husband; she's divorced; they have 2 kids, ages 9 and 3 --- the latter is Jude, I suppose).
The guy on crutches was actually physically attractive, but his overt New Humanitarian hipsterism made him sound like an idiot. For instance, when the woman mentioned that her college major had been Biology, the guy began a spiel about how, like, even though he was currently an unemployed English major, he'd always, like, been interested in Biology, because it was, like, LIFE. In all my years, I've overheard dozens of girls going for this kind of line, and was kind of waiting for her to, also. To her credit, she did not. (Jesus, she had one kid when she was 20, and her husband has recently forced her to raise a 3-year-old by herself. Perhaps the Reality Gene has kicked in early with this lady.)