The Critical Mass

God loves sport coats and convulsive expulsions of matter from the lungs

Last night I was waiting for Margaret Explosion to begin its set at The Little Theatre when drummer Paul Dodd came up to me and said I hadn’t been writing enough blogs. I mumbled something about being busy writing other things, which is absolutely true, I’m trying to finish up a couple of books. And then I mentioned Twitter. At least I’ve been Tweeting, I said.

Dodd, who’s been working on a fantastic Beatnik goatee for months now, rolled his eyes at the mention of Twitter. I guess 140 characters isn’t enough for him.

And he’s right. It’s not enough for me, either. I’ve been delinquent in passing on observations of the Vast Cavalcade of Humanity.

Like two days ago, on the bus ride home from work. I feel a tug at my elbow, and turn around in my seat to see what is going on. “Nice jacket,” says a woman sitting two seats behind me, on the other side of the aisle. She smiles at me, like we are sharing some kind of a secret understanding over a fashion decision that I had made this morning after a half-second of thought, maybe less.

“Thanks,” I say. I don’t know who she is, except I remember earlier this summer she was passing out flyers promoting a religious rally at the baseball stadium. I didn’t take one. And it really isn’t that outstanding of a jacket, or I wouldn’t be wearing it. Just kind of a sage-green sports coat. I wore a different coat the next day so she wouldn’t bother me.

Then there’s an older, African-American woman who is always smiling. She’s on the bus a lot. Last week she is sitting near me when I sneeze.

“God bless you,” she says.

“Thank you.”

“God doesn’t just bless you when you sneeze, he blesses you all that time.”

“I need it.”

“Yes, God does bless us all. He blesses us every minute of the day, every minute of the night, not just when we sneeze.”

I turn back to my New York Times Book Review.

“God blesses us when we’re sick and when we’re healthy. God blesses us when we pray to Him. God blesses us when we don’t even know it.”

I peer over the top of my eyeglasses. She’s still going. “God blesses us….” Everyone else near us is staring straight ahead, probably thinking, “Please God, don’t let me be the next one to sneeze….”