Reading: The Dogs of Babel, by Carolyn Parkhurst. Good so far, though it's not knocking my socks off. Everyone keeps comparing it to The Lovely Bones, but I'm not sold yet.

So there is this woman in my neighborhood who, from time to time, takes the same bus I do in the mornings. I don't see her all the time, as I don't take the same bus every day. (If I'm feeling particularly productive, I'll get the 8:15, but sometimes it's the 8:55, and there are a couple in between.)

This woman, who I'd put in her mid-40's, has the oddest sense of fashion of anyone I've ever seen, and "odd" is a kind way of putting it. She's just downright goofy. She's usually wearing a hat, but it's not a fashionable hat, it's a sailor hat you'd find at the dollar store, and it sits on her head like it simply fell out of the sky and landed there. She has them in varying colors; I have seen white, navy blue, and pink, though they are not expressly coordinated to her outfit. Under the hat, her hair appears as though she got out of bed about three minutes before getting on the bus. Her blouses are circa 1988, her polyester pants are always an inch too high, she wears dark socks with light shoes.

However, she has a photo ID and some keys hanging around her neck, so she obviously has a legitimate job. She also has, according to her left hand, a husband.

So I guess I should shut the hell up.

Sometimes, again depending on which bus I actually end up catching, there is a young married couple waiting at my stop.

They stand there with their shoulder bags and their umbrellas, talking and smiling at each other and usually holding hands or linking arms. On the bus, she will sometimes rest her head on his shoulder and close her eyes, or they will read the same section of the paper together, sometimes listening, one ear each, to music from an mp3 player.

When we get to the metro station, they follow each other off the bus and walk hand in hand down to the train. They always kiss goodbye as he goes to the lower level to take the train out to the suburbs somewhere, and she waits on my platform to go into the city.

And I have to confess.

I hate them.

I know, I know, I'm betraying single women in their thirties everywhere, but I swear to God, I hate them with every ounce of bitterness I have. They appear to be a perfectly likeable couple of people, and I'm sure if I met them at a party I would find them lovely and agreeable, but I can't help it, they actually make me angry. I am jealous too, I have to admit that, and if I were to be falsely reasonable about it, I would tell you that my anger is at myself for being jealous in the first place.

But it's not. It's just about them. It's irrational and inexcusable, and I cannot deny it.

I know couplehood isn't the be-all end-all of existence, and I know this couple fights about stupid things like every other couple since the beginning of time, but I also know that she has someone to wait at the bus stop with and someone to have dinner with and someone who cares whether or not she comes home at night and someone who will bring her soup when she doesn't feel good and someone who answers, at least most of the time, probably, when she says things out loud at the television.

And at some point, he looked at her and said, you know, I do believe I like you well enough to spend most of whatever time I have left with you, and she felt it in her heart to be true. And even if at some point down the line it stops being true, even if it was only true for a minute, that's a minute longer than I have ever felt it to be true, and among a zillion other things, that fact makes me angry. (At what, I don't know. Probably part of the problem, I suppose.)

But whatever, I'll get over it. (Well, either that, or I will become an old seething angry bitter spinster hag. But hey, at least I'll get to scare the neighborhood children with impunity. Woo!)

No, seriously. I suppose this is just because it's been a while since I whined about being lonely around here, so I'm throwing it out there in case you were wondering whether it was still true. But it's not like I'm not used to it. Years of practice, you know.

Truly, I'm fine. See? Who could possibly be happier than me?

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