Don’t tell me what to do

I was on the bus today, a full bus, so I was standing near the back door.

A tall, cute brunette almost-punk-rock girl got on the bus and was standing just in front of me. Her hair was short and hung down longer in front than in back; she wore a black tanktop and a denim skirt over black leggings and canvas Chuck high-top sneakers, and a bike messenger bag slung around her thin shoulders. She was almost elfin and pale.

As we hung on to the bar and swayed back and forth on our feet, I noticed that her bag/purse was decorated with a single, black, button. It read:

Don’t fuckin’ tell me I’ll be OK!

I wondered what her reaction would be… she seemed more of a fashion punk than a hardcore punk.

As my stop approached, I tapped her on the shoulder and said, softly, gently, “Excuse me, miss.”.

She turned, a little startled, and moved aside as if I was trying to get past her. “Sorry..?” She said.

In my calmest, most reassuring, most sincere voice (and, having worked in phone support for years and years, I can be very calm, reassuring, and sincere when I want to be) I said, “I just wanted to tell you… You’re going to be OK.”

She smiled, puzzled. “What?” she finally offered into the pause between us.

The bus was stopped and the door to my side was opening. Maybe she hadn’t heard me? I am a very quiet person normally. I raised my voice a little but tried to keep oozing calmness and sincerity. “Really. You’re going to be OK.” I enunciated carefully. I still hoped that she’d get the joke but it looked as though she wasn’t making the connection between what I was telling her and what her button said. I turned and stepped off the bus, her puzzled grin framed by the windows in the bus door the last thing I saw of her.

I kept my calm poker face until the bus pulled away, then burst out laughing. At some point in the future, maybe in an hour, maybe longer, she’s going to see the button on her bag and realize what I was telling her.

I hope she gets as much a laugh out of it as I did. It wasn’t meant to be at her expense…