She rose from her seat across the aisle, to move from being seated beside some other stranger she apparently found less appealing – to come sit next to me. My headphones were on like they typically are on my commute to 5:57 arrival at the Barbur transit center. I might not have thought anything of it had it not been for the fact that she got up from one perfectly good seat to come sit next to me. She was a rambunctious one for what appeared to be a woman in her early to mid 50s.
All I could hear at first was her chattering as her head and hands were bouncing around. She kept stealing glances over my way. I’d say innocent, but after a while, I wasn’t so sure. I realized she was talking to me, so I reasoned if she wants to talk, who am I to turn away the attention of a stranger? She kept grumbling things like “aww yeah, git it!.. I’m late to work.. VROOOM!!”. Then she turned to me and remarked how much she enjoys it when the bus driver punches the gas and swerves around cars. She’s late to work and hasn’t time to waste after all.
The conversation turned from being centered around the actions of the driver… to me, apparently. She asked who I was texting on my phone. I told her it was simply a work email. In hindsight, it sounds boring, but I was too weary eyed to think up something more exotic at that hour. She responded to that with, “you want to blow up my phone? you can text me” accompanied by a bit of elbow jostling.. to which I politely declined.
She then boldly looked at me, smiled, and stroked my chin with her hand, saying “You’re cute”. Whoah granny. Whoah. She then started inquiring whether I have a family and wife. This time I lied, affirming yes on both counts. It felt like the safe thing to do, she seemed like a bit of an ornery woman from what I could tell in the 5 minutes I’d been riding next to her. But also an honorable one who would not be trying to be a home-wrecker.. I can make conversation, as long as she doesn’t think I’ll be getting off the bus with her.
She told me about her kids, one in a master’s program at PSU, and I can’t remember the other two, but they seemed to be well accomplished children. I might not have guessed it by seeing this old woman flying by the seat of her pants and getting friendly with a man perhaps half her age this early on the bus, but impressions are often inaccurate like that.
She went on to assert how important it is for me to be a man for the young boys I told her I have, because they need that “deep voice”, as she kept repeating. She repeated herself often. Which led me to be suspicious if she also was working on a little bit of “liquid courage”, as we called it where I grew up. How else could she know me for such a brief stint, and already be able to tell me what a good parent I will be? Or that my kids will be so strong and successful? Perhaps she possesses insight that just comes from experience. But either way, I hope she is right. Perhaps I’ll see her again someday.. and I’ll maybe turn my head so she won’t recognize me. Or maybe I’ll invite her over for a seat and a chat. I guess it depends on how friendly I’m feeling that day.