“He has good ears,” said the woman sitting behind us on the bus.
“What?” I turned, unsure if she was talking to me, about Ben, or about or to someone else entirely. We were on a busy Chicago bus, and I was catching bits of conversation from all directions. But this was, apparently, directed at me.
“Your son. He likes music, doesn’t he?” she said, pointing now at his ears. “I can tell from the shape of his ears, he’ll be a musician.”
“Sure, yes, he likes music. Most kids do, though, right?”
“Oh, no, he’s special. Look at his ears!” Now she was speaking as much to her companion as to me, going on about the shape of his ears, the tilt of his nose, the shade of his eyes. Ben, happy to have someone paying attention to him, turned to kneel on the seat and face her, mugging as for a camera while the woman studied his features and annotated them to her companion. Meanwhile, Ben chatted to her about his musical instruments, his favorite songs.
“You need to get him a teacher, a good teacher,” the woman insisted. “I can recommend one here in the city.”
“Oh, but we’re from out of town,” I said, intrigued, but also trying to get out of the conversation; “From California.”
“No, Mama,” Ben interjected. “We’re from San Francisco,” he told the woman, and proceeded, over my quiet protest, to announce our address to the entire busload of strangers.
But she was more interested in his facial features and then, because by now Ben was being free with all kinds of personal information, on figuring out the impact of his natal chart on his potential musical career. She was a little bit stymied; Ben doesn’t know exactly what time he was born, and I pretended to have forgotten (9:14 A.M.) Still, she proclaimed him a “particularly sensitive Pisces” and recommended I keep an eye on the growth of his nose, which will, she claimed, determine whether he can make a living from his musical talents or whether he’ll languish in poverty.
It’s good to ride the bus. Stuff like this just doesn’t happen when you’re stuck in the car.