Monologue on a Savannah bus
"Man it sucks to be homeless when it's cold, man!
"Those homeless shelters get too full and they don't let you in and you have to stay out in the cold, man!
Savannah offers a free tourist shuttle. It's a good thing and as many locals as tourists use it. (Though eventually I saw that locals use it partly because the rest of the public transportation is lacking, not only because the shuttle's free.) Almost always, the locals on the shuttle are black, and the tourists are white. This afternoon the shuttle was fairly full. I heard two men greet each other, started to chat, then one man's voice grew louder and louder, and his voice and what he was saying shortly silenced the entire bus, so that we all listened to the monologue:
"You don't know how many times I've been staying out in the cold, man!
"I've stayed in so many abandoned buildings, God it's cold!
"I've heard there are people who die from the cold, from the, frostbite, man!
"I'm glad I'm spared that, man!
"One time, I was staying in my grandma's, garage, man I think it was, it was 30, degrees, I was so cold! Not through the night I had to knock on the door, and say let me inside! Man!
"My grandma, she doesn't care one bit, man! But I still go see her when I want to see her, man!
"One time, she kicked me out, and I made it all the way to California! Man!
"She kicked me out, but she didn't know I'd go all the way to California! Ha ha ha!
"My brother, he called her and told her I was in California!
"She was so worried, she didn't know where I was, for, a whole week!
"I could have bought a house in California! Man!
"Houses are cheap in California!
At this point some tourists laughed a little. I could not see the man from where I was sitting.
"Three bedroom house, you could buy for $28,000! Here it's $56,000! Man!
"There are some that are $130,000, even! Man!
"I could have bought a house in California!
"But hmm, I came back to Savannah, because, I heard this news report...
"They are going to invest in the Southeast of the US, man!
"They are going to invest in these parts!
"They are not going to invest in California!
"See ya, man!"
I realized it's my stop too and quickly head for the door. I see only his back, outfitted in a long jacket and baggy pants of some shiny white material, both decorated all over with small American flags and silvery paint. The size and texture of the suit and the American flags made me think of a spacesuit, and as we step off the bus into the mottled afternoon sunlight, I half expected him to proclaim he's landed on the moon, and God bless America.