In the Bus Bag
Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Tag Archives: what are you?
For better: The 48, where everybody knows your name
On Friday, Chicklet and I traveled to the Eastside (48 + 545) to meet Bus Nerd for lunch. My parental leave is quickly dwindling, and we’re trying to get in all the family bonding time we can. I digress.
The 48 ride was one of those cool trips where it feels like you know everyone on the bus. We ran into my friend Paulette, whom I met several years ago (through Bus Nerd) on the 3. Actually, I originally met Paulette many years earlier, when I was still a child, …
I’m sitting in the very front of the forward-facing rows, on the driver’s side, in the seat nearest the window. At a light somewhere in the ID, the man sitting in front of me (in the closest of the sideways-facing seats) strikes up a conversation. Three sentences in, he asks an odd variation on one of those questions:
“What nationality are you from?”
I know full well what he’s getting at, but I play along anyway. “I’m from here.”
“No, but what is your ethnic background?”
I cut to the chase this time–no need to prolong the interrogation. “I’m …