Of course, this tranquility lasts only until I hear murmurings that seem to be pointed in my general direction. I ignore them, thinking I'm hearing things, or perhaps I'm just catching snippets from some conversation outside of my visual range. The murmurings come again, forcing me to look around. The dude sitting on the bench is asking if I just bought new shoes and pointing to the Downtown Locker Room bag that I have sitting in front of me.* "No, it's just an old bag."** I return to my game.
For a visual image, he's a ratty thing. He looks about 18-19ish, braces, super unkempt hair. He's wearing fucked up black Air Force Ones, a GINORMOUS t-shirt, and dirty jeans. He is not cute. I'm not saying dudes need to be perfectly put together at all times; there is such a thing as attractively disheveled and this was not it. It was as though he spent the night painting a fence, and on a whim decided to take the bus into DC this morning. He needs:
- A haircut,
- A shower,
- A washer/dryer,
- A tailor, and
- A speech therapist. (I can't stand such poor enunciation.)
This is not a good omen. This just isn't done on my bus route. There are rules about this sort of thing. Unless you are friends with the person, you do not get up to sit next to them, and even then, if there are adjacent seat pairs that are empty, you sit in a different seat pair close enough to talk, but far enough for sprawling out a bit. He proceeds to ask me random questions to which I provide one/two word responses while gazing out the window.
Him: What time is is?Thankfully, he stops with the questions about thirty seconds before the last stop. He tries to initiate no more conversation. I really don't know what I did to deserve all this punishment. First the iPod dies on me, then I miss an awesome photo opportunity, and now this. God, what did I do to offend you so terribly?
Him: So you ride out here everyday?
Me: No. (Actual answer: Yes, just not at this time normally.)
Him: So you work in DC?
Him: So you shop at Downtown Locker Room a lot?
Me: Not really. (Actual answer: I used to a lot, but not as often lately.)
Him: So where do you work?
Me: Government stuff. (Actual answer: Not government stuff.)
At least I have another reason to catch the earlier buses.
* I bought some tiny SpongeBob Squarepants Dunks for my friend's new baby. So adorable. So shiny. So yellow. So awesome.
** Every couple of workdays, I show up with a bag full of english muffins/bagels, cream cheese, and a lot of whatever frozen dinners are on sale at Safeway. It's cheaper than buying lunch everyday, but easier than actually making lunch.