I’m sure my bus riding commute will provide for a lot of interesting fodder. Here’s your first story.
Friday afternoon a middle-aged man got on the bus just north of downtown Milwaukee. The man was in nice, business casual clothes and carrying a briefcase. After he paid his fare, he walked up to the person behind me and with a big smile on his face, said “hello, can I sit here and talk with you for a while?” This was (of course) received with a very curt “no”. No worries. Our man of the hour continued smiling as he walked further down the aisle and I lost him for a bit.
A few stops down the way, the guy came back to the front and sat down next to someone else. This woman was reserved, but willing to talk. The two of them chatted for a couple of minutes until it was the gentleman’s stop. He left with a pleasant goodbye and waved to the lady from outside the bus with the enthusiasm of a puppy upon the master’s arrival.
Obviously this guy has a mental handicap, but his “fault” is that he is too nice and looking to make a new friend where ever he goes. Watching this scene play out made me very uncomfortable and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head all weekend. Who was really the one with a fault in this situation? Would I have been willing to talk to him if he had asked me? What a jaded society we live in.
UPDATE: My conclusion was that yes, I would speak with this guy should I ever see him again, but then I ran into another instance of “too friendly”. This morning I witnessed a lady cornered by a gentleman who rode the bus for the first time yesterday. She thought she was being polite. He thought he was making a new friend and talked the WHOLE time he was on the bus again this morning. The lady is now trapped unless she takes another bus. What do you do then? Be rude and wear headphones? Ah, first world problems…
P.S. I am my father’s daughter. Please “The Man in the Green Hat” by Mark S.