Bus shorts: Silent Night

Aretha Franklin

Heading home on Sacramento’s Gold Line, I could hear someone singing. Now usually, when I am on public transportation (especially in the car farthest from the driver) I don’t turn around to check out a ruckus. “Hey lady! You lookin’ at me? I’ll give you something to look at!” So instead I glanced over at the man sitting next to me. He raised an eyebrow and shrugged.

The song got louder as the vocalist picked up steam. Soon she was in full voice, exuberant but wavery and off-key.

The man next to me smiled and shook his head, “She’s enthusiastic, I’ll give her that.”

We both turned around and looked—there’s strength in numbers. By then the singer, a large woman with dreads, beads, and a short skirt, was belting out an Aretha Franklin song with far more gusto than grace. Her seat-mate, slumped over onto her shoulder, was oblivious to the concert.

“Do you take requests?”, asked bus friend to beaded-dread lady.

“Sure, honey. What you want to hear?”

“How about Silent Night.”

“Si i lent Night, Ho o ly night, All is calm, all is bright”

The whole car laughed. She said, “What? You want a different version?”

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