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2003-01-12

Mrs. Leslie Carter (b. Caroline Louise Dudley)
B. 6.10.1862 Lexington, Kentucky / D. 11.13.1937 Santa Monica
Comparison

Girl, early 20’s, sat down in front of me on the 68 bus, started talking into a cell phone
about her Jamaican grandfather’s 25 children and his and her grandmother’s 75 children and grandchildren combined and her own skin, how it used to be lighter.
I kept my seat, gambling on her getting off at Kings Highway. That would give me fifteen, twenty minutes’ peace before my stop, but still left a long stretch of monologue: for the only signs of active participation at the call’s other end came when my neighbor had to repeat some word seemingly misheard:
“I don’t like routine. . .Routine. . .Routine. . .You know routine. . .when things are the same every day, when they don’t change: yes, darling, routine!” And later, “She’s going to college in Altoona. . .Altoona. . .Altoona. . .No, Al—” (fingers flying out of my fist I counted five more).
Kings Highway came, went. She was a Coney Island girl, I guess, because I got outlasted. At the end of Coney Island Avenue, I leapt; she and her call rolled on.
“I been talking to you ebber since I got on the bus. The whole bus ride I have been talking to you. Talking to you. No. . .to you.”
I picture an ear with a hole worn through the drum, as if by the action of water or the lips of pilgrims.
Poor friend, deaf to the “oo” tone.

Consolation Site: (sic)

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