One time, several years ago, I was riding on a bus at night. The only other passenger was a middle-aged African-American woman who was muttering to herself about “perverts.” She seemed mentally unbalanced, angry, and agitated, muttering about how the town was full of perverts. “Perverts! I know who the perverts are!” she’d say.
I was sitting a few seats behind her, on the other side of the aisle, but she was sideways in her seat and so I was well within her field of vision. Her rant about “perverts” was disturbing at first, but after a while I began to find it somewhat comical.
I suppressed a smile, but she noticed my struggle to contain myself. And then a funny thing happened. Her agitation seemed to lift, she looked directly at me and her words became teasing, almost gentle. “Yeaaahh,” she said, “I know who the perverts are.” At which point I could no longer contain a grin, and the lady chuckled softly to herself and smiled.