A long-time reader from overseas appeared at Mass yesterday. She approached me after Mass to say that she had read my blog and taken my Singles advice, and thereby had this Scottish husband, two children and another on the way.
I goggled at the nice-looking, graying husband, the shy wee man at his knees, the girl baby (with a splendidly chic bonnet) in his arms and the bump over my reader's tum. I had some part in all this wealth of life and love? Really? Truly?
"Do you have any of your own?" asked the cheerful Scottish husband, thereby disclosing that he doesn't read my blogs.
"Er...no," quoth I. "It was too late for me, or so goes the theory."
"It was late for me," said the husband cheerfully, who did indeed appear to be some years older than his wife and, come to think of it, me.
Yes, men say stuff like that to the barren, which is why their wives have to beat them occasionally with tea towels. However, I was too interested in the miracle of the wee man, the wee girl in the chic bonnet (was it tweed?) and the bump to mind. Occasionally readers write to tell me that my advice helped them get married and have babies. Rare is the evidence right before my eyes.
It was a splendid gift. My spirits soared on the way home. Until B.A. and I were on the Rough Bus, of course. Then two girls of roughly twelve boarded and sat in the very back to amuse themselves by singing pop songs and yelling at fellow passengers like middle-aged drunks. Their speech was rather broad, so I didn't understand what they were yelling. Apparently, though, they were trying to get the attention of two other girls, better-mannered twins, who stared straight ahead, embarrassed. Obviously these polite girls don't read my blog either, for then they would know that the way to deal with aggressive friendliness on the Rough Bus is to be tolerably friendly back.
But the polite girls were in luck, for B.A. chivalrously turned around in his seat and told the rude girls to cut it out. This was truly heroic, for naturally it turned their aggressive attention onto him and left his wife wondering why o why can neither of us drive?
"What's going on?" I asked in an undertone.
"I'll tell you later," said B.A.
My thoughts flew to the anti-Polonism of the Rough Bus, and so I asked in my best teacher tones,
"Are they being RACIALLY A-BU-SIVE?"
(Yes, in the UK white people of different nations are considered different races. If you wallop a Pole in silence, you are merely charged with assault, but if you wallop a Pole while saying "Take that, Polish guy!" racial abuse is added to the charge sheet. No doubt if/when the UK Powers That Be rip 800,000 Poles from their British lives and deport them, they will be really super-polite about it.)
"No, no," said B.A. "They are bothering two other girls. Tell you later."
When we got up to leave the bus, the loud girls were still in the back, taking a rest between pop songs ("Eh, mister, dae ye think we wad win X-Factor?"). So naturally they directed good-byes at our tweed-clad backs, to which we responded with good-byes tinged with reproof. It took me a while to interpret what it was they were actually saying, but I finally figured it out. I forget how they addressed B.A., but to me they said, "Good-bye, Posh Mammy!"
So that was another Lenten Sunday gift.