Today I took a bus to Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood to meet with two wonderful kids that I tutor. I really like taking that bus because of the fascinating mix of people who ride it: Tiny elderly people in sunhats speaking Vietnamese and Cantonese. Somalian women with long pretty headscarves. Central American and Mexican men carrying heavy suitcases or grocery bags. And a diverse handful of Americans. Today, the bus was especially crowded. I sat in a spot at the very back, in a tiny open space between two men with large bellies. The man on my left wore thick glasses and had an intense, psychopathic stare, which was thankfully aimed at no one in particular. The man on my right had his arm draped across the back of my seat. As soon as I sat down, he looked at me and said (in a strange high-pitched voice), “Well! My girlfriend’s sitting next to me!” Oh dear. I should have just stood in the aisle. “Is your girlfriend invisible?” I asked. “Did I squash her when I sat down?” He chuckled obnoxiously, and I stared at my lap, vowing to ignore him. He looked at my laptop case. “You’ve got a laptop, huh?” he asked. “Yup,” said I. “Is that the best kind?” he asked. “I have no idea,” I said. “My HUSBAND bought it for me.” “Ooooooh,” said the man.
Fortunately, he got off at the next stop. As he left, he said, “Well, Oddy, time to go.” Oddy? Am I Oddy? Then he waved at me, and what he said next seemed to be, “Bye, Naughty!” Naughty? Oddy? This man had a very strange voice. It was hard to tell. When he left, I scooted over, away from the guy with the stare, thinking, “Oh, how I love the public bus system!” And really, I do. My life would be so much less entertaining without it.