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Friday, April 18, 2008

Call Me Ponce de Leon

I have found the fountain of youth. It is a 52 year old Italian man I met on the bus tonight.

At first, when this gentleman started talking to me I thought, oh great, one of those bus talkers. You know the ones who sit down by you and tell you about their day and their dogs and all of their troubles while you wish you had popped in your iPod sooner. But as it turns out, this guy was not one of those bus talkers. He was, as I said, a gentleman.

He began talking to me as if he knew me already, though I usually don't take this particular bus route and in fact had never met this man in my life. He told me first off that I look like Meg Ryan, and he met her in Harvard Square years back at the Hasty Pudding festivities, and so, he knows what she looks like in person. He then noticed my wedding ring and commented that my husband was lucky to have a wife who looked like Meg Ryan. He then told me of his catering business which sprung from years before as an owner of three restaurants. He worked with his two uncles, one who is eighty five and the other who was eighty seven when he died but worked every day in his life and never got sick until after a routine checkup at which he contracted a staph infection at the hospital that did him in. Then he told me about his 108 year old grandmother who loves junk food and has a bone to pick with Willard Scott. Several bones to pick with him, in fact. He told me he has been to several Super Bowls and championship games of professional sports and has also been to the Rose Bowl a few times. He told me of his family who lived in California and where, and why some of them came back east. He told me all of this in great detail - so much detail I can't remember all of it to sufficiently tell this story - in a manner of a few short bus stops. And just before I got off the bus, he told me his family's secrets to longevity and youth:

1: Drink LOTS of ice water. With lemon.
2: Eat junk food.
and 3 - most importantly - more important than anything:

Laugh.

Laughing is medicinal, therapeutic, and is the cure for what ails ya. And I completely agree with him. But it was one of those things that I needed someone to tell me again, when I was feeling stressed out and a little down. I was in a funk when I got on the bus, and I thought, upon first sitting next to this gentleman who started talking to me even before my butt cheeks were planted on the hard-molded plastic, that this was going to be another one of those bus rides to endure. But I found myself warming up to this gentleman for the very reason he preached to me before I left the bus - he made me laugh. He was the epitome of his own philosophy.

When I got to my stop, I told him that it had been nice talking to him, and he waved at me and said "Ciao, Bella." My mood was lightened. I only hope his day was as enriched by my presence as mine was from his.

So thank you, Mr. Italian Guy On The Bus, for making me laugh today, and many more laughs to you and yours.

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