Ode to Plastic Lawn Animals and Billy

Here’s a little ditty from what I will call the “Archive series.”  What that essentially means is that I’m cleaning out my “Drafts” folder in a desperate attempt to avoid the labor of creative thought.  Bear in mind, most of these remained in the Drafts folder for a reason – but my standards have relaxed considerably lately due to the reality of having about one minute and eleven seconds of free time every day.  So, for better or for worse, let’s proceed:

[Archive 001 – from March, 2009]

On the way to catch the bus this morning I was thinking about what I was going to say to Billy.  Billy is a real character with a fake name.  If you want to figure it out his real name,  it has four letters.  There, I pretty much gave it away.   Anyway, Billy rides with a crew of special needs folks that happen to ride my bus.  You could say I’m on their bus I suppose… or that it’s just our bus, given that I have many needs, some of which are special.   At any rate, he’s in his late twenties, is very engaging, and I would guess his IQ is in the 60’s.  He has vision problems as well, because when he talks to me he’s always looking at something about 3 feet to the right of me, and about 10 feet behind me.   He tends to join me only if there isn’t an empty seat available next to a woman.  He loves his women.  LOVES his women.  Unfortunately not all of the women he sits next to love him, but he doesn’t let their reactive behavior influence his presentation in the least.  Everybody gets the same Billy, no exceptions.  Over the course of time they all eventually learn that he’s harmless, and it’s the exception when a women overtly rejects his verbal overtures or gets up and moves.  And if they do so, they quickly learn that moving probably isn’t the preferred solution since he merely continues his monologue at ear splitting volume, much to the chagrin of all the other riders whose headphones and ear buds have been rendered useless.

Billy’s interactions with me tend to be fairly scripted, based on whatever event might have come up within the past month or so.  For example, I back ended a guy in my car a few weeks ago, and told Billy about it.  From that point on, the first two sentences of his discourse with me are always the same:

“Did you do it on purpose?”

“Did you get your car fixed yet?”

After this we normally move on to the names of my children and their ages.  Then my manager’s name, and his wife’s name.  Somewhere in this timeframe he engages an imaginary person in hushed tones for about 5 minutes.  When we’re nearly at our destination, he asks which bus I’ll be riding home.  I answer “I might take the 4:42.”  Then he asks:

“You might or you will?”

He doesn’t usually hang around for the answer since, by this point, his concentration is entirely involved in getting queued up with his compatriots and their handlers for the bus departure.

Billy and I both ended up the way we are mostly as a result of circumstances beyond our control.  But on my way in this morning, while I was thinking about Billy, it occurred to me that there are plenty of things in life that we do have control over.  For instance, we have control over whether or not to put plastic animals on our lawn.  Face it, it’s an option – much like a Stadium Pal or X-Ray glasses.   It just so happens that many of the people in my neighborhood opt for the plastic animals, and it makes me want to pith them in a well meant attempt to relieve their suffering.  Granted, this is an extreme example of the nasty cards fate can deal – but you get the point.

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