It all began innocently enough, though not without certain nightmarish aspects, as folks on the bus began comparing the ring tones on their cell phones. It was evocative of the moment in The Stand, when Nadine says, “We are dead, and this is Hell . . .”

Just when things couldn’t get any more bizarre, the fellow across the aisle began looking at the two women sitting in front of me, and began remarking upon the smile of one of the women.

And remarking.

And remarking.

“Oh, what a great smile you have!” he proclaimed.

A scant few seconds passed, and then he continued, “Oh, your smile has just made me so happy! Your smile has made my whole day!”

She laughed, though her smile wasn’t quite as bright or as friendly as it had been during the ringtone conversation.

“Oh, I could just look at your smile all day long, it makes me so happy!”

All throughout his declarations of happiness, there was not a word from the woman or her friend. It is always possible that he took her silence for sudden affection – happens all the time in the movies, after all, why not on a bus?

He was in the middle of yet another profession of appreciation for her smile when the bus stopped and she got off.

After a moment, he was heard to complain, “He didn’t even say goodbye.”

The man seated in front of him said, “She said goodbye to the driver.”

“Yeah, but she didn’t say goodbye to me!”

Go figure.

At the time I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps she had gotten off the bus a mile or two before her actual destination, figuring that the walk would be preferable to more assertions of adoration for her smile.


The Adventures of Clarke Buehling

The Adventures of Clarke Buehling, a collection of studio performances by the well-known Fayetteville banjo master, from both 1993 and 2015, can be seen anytime at:


Quote of the Day

Books are becoming everything to me. If I had at this moment any choice of life, I would bury myself in one of those immense libraries . . . and never pass a waking hour without a book before me. – Thomas B. Macauley