Eight out of ten times when I take the bus by myself, something weird will happen. Most likely a chatty strange person will start talking to me. I am not really a big fan of strangers (normal or not-so-normal) talking to me, which ironically enough enforces the magnetic field of my being a weirdo magnet.
The other day I get out of my building to catch the bus, which is three minutes away according to NextBus. There is another person at the stop, and ten seconds later he asks “Excuse me, do the buses run on a 20-minute schedule?” “I don’t know about their schedule,” I reply “but the next bus is coming in a couple of minutes.” That was easy, I think to myself. Oh, boy, am I wrong. “Oh, thank you, you look like you know what is going on, people these days have their smartphones and they can tell when the bus is coming, I bet you have a smartphone too,” he says. “Yes, I do,” I reply and turn my head to the other direction from where he is standing. “I don’t take this bus often, I just got here from the other bus stop, I waited for 15 minutes,” he says. Who the hell asked you what you did, I think, yet the only response I manage is “Oh.” One would think a one-word response would get across the message that the other person does not wish to engage in conversation, but this guys is impervious to the message.
I don’t exactly remember what was the next thing he says, but somehow within a couple of minutes he has told me that his nephew who was in jail for years and was a heroin addict is now married to an attorney, that his father is 84 years old, he has three sisters and three brothers, one of his sisters lives in Arlington across the street from this restaurant, as in directly across the street, when you get out of the restaurant and look across the street his sister’s house door is the first thing you see (the guy was pretty talented in making boring things sounding even more boring). At this point I wonder what happened to those bloody three minutes the bus was supposed to come in, did they magically turn into three hours? Because this is how it feels like.
I start noticing what he looks like: mid to late forties, dark brown hair, skinny, around five-ten, wearing a turtleneck and a clip with his keys like a pendant, hung from his turtleneck. Dude, that’s not where the clip goes, but whatever makes you happy, I thought. He keeps talking non-stop: his mother died from cancer fifteen years ago, she was in and out of hospitals and chemotherapy for a long time, but he knows she’s happy now because she’s in heaven with the angels. At this point I am kind of jealous of the mother, because she doesn’t have to listen to this guy. The angels reference triggers the next theme of his unending monologue: religion. “I believe in God you see, I read the bible, I have a study bible and a King James bible, and the study bible has an index, you can look up a word and it tells you what page it is on. The bible is a very useful book, and I read it when I don’t know how to handle situations, because when I get angry I am scared of what I might do, ’cause I might kick someone hard and my legs are very strong.” What. The. Fuck. I take a couple of steps back, and I’m glad there is another person at the stop. It is not that I feel threatened he might kick me, he doesn’t look angry or anything, but now I feel uneasy on top of annoyed.
Thankfully (relatively) he goes back to talking about the bible and he tells me he’s a Catholic, while adding, “I bet you are a Catholic too.” Funny, you just lost the bet. He then proceeds to get even more annoying: “Oh, man, and all this gay marriage bullshit, it’s in the bible, it’s a sin, I cannot stand those queers, just get out of my face you queers. ” I bet the queers would like you to get out of their faces, buddy. What a bigoted piece of shit. Up to this point I restricted myself to politely smiling and nodding, but this last point wipes the smile off my face. Suddenly I feel like I am acting in a farce, and I get the urge to start laughing in his face, but I stop short when I remember his anger reference. So, I turn serious, I put much effort so that my face looks as serious at it can. The dude notices that and stops yapping. “Do you know what the most dangerous sin of all is?” I ask. “Do you?” I add for effect. I have the guy’s attention, he blinks and nods. “GREED, greed is the greatest sin of all,” I tell him, dead serious.
He tries to process this for a couple of seconds, and it gets him going about the sins listed in the bible, and I just want to scream shut the fuck up, enough already, and the bus finally appears, and I am pretty sure these have been the longest three minutes of my life. I get on the bus and he’s right behind me. He asks the driver “Do I know you?”, while the bus driver gives him a wtf look. The bus is jammed, he yells for the people to move to the back of the bus to make some room for the people getting on. I need to escape, I just need an available single seat, but every seat seems occupied. Then I spot a third of a seat, it is a middle seat between two gigantic people wearing gigantic puffy jackets. Fuck that, I think to myself, and I jam myself in that one-third of a seat between these two huge guys, but at least I am away from the weirdo, who walks back towards the front of the bus to annoy some other unlucky person, I’m sure. I start feeling that the huge guys are crushing my bones, but I have escaped the weirdo, I have escaped!