Anyway, this was this morning, so it was cold (well CA cold meaning it was 49 degrees) and overcast. It was also not quite 7 am and even though my non caffeine headaches don’t normally visit me until the late afternoon, I am still pretty sluggish first thing in the morning.
A guy sat down next to me and I ignored him. It isn’t that I am rude, it is just that after years of riding the PT system in the San Jose bay area, I have learned a few things. I kept right on texting Yeah I know, but what did the chicken really want?
Black Sabbath was in my ears, I was sporting new butch-style-biker-gal-birthday-gift-coat from Jessica, I was in a pretty decent mood.
The guy made a few odd grunting sounds.
Absently I inched a tad over to the other side of the bench., still texting away. I can’t wait…. Do you think there will be fireworks?
He made more grunting sounds and then tapped me three times on the arm. Tap Tap Tap
I pulled an ear bud out and blinked at him expectantly.
“Do you know how much it costs?” His voice was kind of quiet and he was contending with the traffic, I took the other ear bud out, “What?”
He gestured and I couldn’t really tell at what, my lap, my ifonay, the train tracks, the row of houses… and asked again; “How much, the cost?’
I decided that since he wasn’t a regular on my train (at least not one I recognize) I would give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was talking about the train. Plus, people rarely ask my opinion about the real estate market, or the cost of my phone, and the only time I was actually offered money for something carnal/body related it was under very different circumstances -another story for another day- so the train fare was probably a better guess.
“I don’t know, but there is a machine over there, “ My turn to gesture vaguely.
Feeling that I had done my part, I popped the ear buds back in (Madonna now) and went back to my vital messaging.
Tap Tap Tap again on my arm. Again, I took the ear buds out and again I looked at him.
“Give me fifty cents?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t carry cash.” Ear buds back in, and back to the phone.
Tap Tap Tap. Buds, Blinking “Yes?”
“You’re a liar.”
“Pardon?” He has my full attention now.
“You, you lied.” His voice isn’t quiet anymore, it is louder than the traffic. A few people nearby turn to look.
I don’t know what to say, so I say nothing, I just look at him. My mind is going over the conversation… and you know what? I had lied.
I don’t carry cash as in wads of green bills, but I have a whole pocketful of spare change in my purse. I use it for the occasional (caffeine free) soda or pack of Skittles at work. Sometimes I buy a bagel at the café’. I don’t really need these snacks. And if I was desperate, I could use my debit card to buy something (caffeine free) at the Starbucks coffee kiosk. I had totally just blown him off with a lie.
He is looking at me and I am feeling like the most selfish degenerate on the face of the planate. Who am I to withhold spare change from someone trying to legally ride the train at 7 am in the morning? Do you have any idea how much a ticket costs if they catch you on the train without a fare stub? $220. I know. It happened to me once and it was horrible.
I am moving forward to swing my purse around thinking that I am not going to give him fifty cents, I am going to give every last bit of coinage I happen to have floating around in the bottom of my bag and then I am going to think thankful thoughts about the fact that it has been years since I had to bum change off of a stranger.
Before I can actually do any of this though…
“You are just a filthy evil liar!” his voice is really loud now. And the traffic has stopped at the light so not only are my fellow commuters all turned around but there is a row of people in their cars who are now all looking at me. Or rather him as he stands up and paces in front of me.
“You say you are sorry, you aren’t sorry… People like you are never sorry. You just take and you take and you aren’t sorry. You are all a bunch of spoiled –something in another language- who don’t care about anything but yourselves!!”
All I can think of to say is “No, wait, I…”
But he isn’t finished; “It is Christmas time, a time for giving! For HELPING others! For being Christian! But no… you can’t bring yourself to be a decent person….”
That’s it, he lost me there. I stand up and realize as I advance on him that because of my (very kick ass) boots and my genetic code I am actually taller than he is.
“Look Buster, Yelling at me isn’t going to get you anywhere.”
(I ummm didn’t actually use the word ‘Buster,” but lets pretend for the sake of my lily white reputation that I didn’t call him something else that starts with “B”.)
He stops, mid arm swing and looks at me.
“No?” he seems genuinely surprised by this… as if this particular method of guilting people (harassing people) has worked out well n the past… which, it probably has. But not with me.
“No. It won’t. If you had asked nicely, If you weren’t being such a Dog about it I might have given you something.”
(Again, “Dog” is much nicer than the real word.)
I am totally in his face now; he is backpedaling around the bench. I might wear glasses but I am also wearing leather and haven’t had coffee in 12 days.
“And just for the record, the season has nothing to do with it, Religion has nothing to do with it…. Not being a Dog has Everything to do with it.”
In perfect literary glory the train has arrived during my last spiel and I can dramatically turn on my heel and walk right into the open door leaving him to cower behind the bench.
Of course the doors decided to stay open for an extra minute because karma works like that and so as we all sat there waiting for the train to finish my dramatic exit he has time to walk up to the window right next to my seat, tap on the glass and then cupping his hands around his mouth shout:
“So, maybe tomorrow then?”