The Unobvious Choice for Godparent
Messages on your clothing
Bus Ride to Downtown Buffalo New York
If you keep your eyes open life is very entertaining. However, I do suggest holding your hand over your eyes and peeking out between your fingers for safe viewing. One morning I had the opportunity to ride a city bus into work downtown. My car was in the shop. In those three weeks my car had more downtime than I had in two years. So, I was on the morning bus going to work. There were the usual cast of characters that you commonly see on a bus. The school crossing guard who stood and chatted with the handsome driver, the stylish woman who works in the shop downtown, and the collection of tired looking late risers like myself who had to talk themselves into getting out of bed that morning. In a few cases it’s safe to say that the bed nearly won.
Every bus trip has its own celebrities. Sometimes it’s two tough looking women going in for their meeting with their parole officers. Those are precious moments for me when I can eavesdrop on their conversations about who’s in prison, who is out, who “got a baby” on whom and how to clean up urine before a drug test. It’s a regular cornucopia of information. Other times it may be a grandmotherly type with a young girl and a baby chatting about church and other family members that are living out of town. They share information like who died and who’s been born since they saw each other last Easter. On this particular day there was a special treat in store for me. There was no conversation to over-hear but none was needed.
At a stop not too far from where I lived a woman sucked on a cigarette and waited for the bus doors to open. The handsome driver hit the lever and the woman crushed out the cigarette with her rubber flip-flops. Her scorched blonde hair was below shoulder length and crispy. The roots were dark and it was pretty obvious her electric comb was out of order. She was dressed in shorts and a white tee shirt with explicit graphics. I am often amused by the ready way people give you information about themselves by the messages on their clothing. Sports teams, bars, designer labels all give you clues about the person who wears them. Message Tee shirts are the most direct. This one was the mother load. The message was, “NOW HIRING. MANY POSITIONS AVAILABLE.” The graphics were stylized couples in a multitude of sexual positions. No conversation needed here. That was way more information than I actually needed.
This testament to style and grace sat down directly in front of me. She rested her tanned muscular arm on the back of the seat exposing two tattoos. One was obviously her name with the man she loved in a traditional hearts entwined pattern. Below that were two words with a small red heart in the center. Under the circumstances I thought this second tattoo was probably whichever lover came next in the sequence… a type of shopping list of her men in order of appearance. I strained my eyes to see the first word. I could tell the word below the heart was “Joshua” but I could not make out the name above it. It did not match the feminine name in the first tattoo. As she moved her arm back I was able to read the up-side-down word which turned out to be “Godson”. My head spun with images of the person who would choose this woman as a good spiritual example to her child. It hurt my brain to think of someone who would be less exemplary than this tattooed woman straight from a county fair sideshow.
I remember when I was asked to be Godmother to my nephew I had to prove that I was a God-fearing Catholic… which of course was a bit of an exaggeration. For a few envelopes and a promise that I would rekindle my old relationship with the church I was allowed to hold the squirming hairless human through the pouring of the water and the anointing with oil. The family changed religions shortly after so my job was done. My point is that the priest actually interviewed me. He asked me questions to which he required an intelligible answer. Maybe she didn’t wear the tee shirt to the interview? Maybe she was the best candidate in that family and the priest was pleased that he wasn’t interviewing the crack-head sister? All this makes me wonder how reformed the Catholic Church has become since I left. Maybe they will take me back, no questions asked, like a prodigal daughter? Maybe my Catholic high school will give me a recommendation now that they have lowered their standards? Hell, I couldn’t even wear a Jethro Tull Tee shirt on dress down day… I’d love to see Sister Dorothy’s face if I walked in with that particular garment.
Perhaps all my observations of this woman are skewed. She may be a very honorable woman with damaged hair who picked the shirt out of her teenaged son’s drawer and didn’t understand it. I leave my mind open for all possibilities. I’ll be the first to admit I might be just another warped human superimposing her own evil thoughts on innocent people. Innocent people who are unaware of the conclusion people come to when they go out in public looking like characters in a bad porno film. Bad porno films I have actually seen.