Bus stop encounter

Really? Three days since my my last post? My apologies. I don’t normally like to go that long without posting something.

Not much happening lately. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve kinda-sorta given up on this year’s NaNo. Yeah. I’m disappointed, too. It was going so well… for about five or six days. Then… nuttin’. The idea is still good.

I feel a little bad for an encounter at the bus stop a couple of days ago. I was at SE 17th and Bybee waiting for the bus. I had one small bag of groceries sitting on the bench next to me. It was after dark.

Suddenly, wham! a big, unshaven, smelly guy slammed his giant duffel bag down on the bench right next to my groceries. The bag was almost as tall as I was, and it made a hard sound, like there was something solid inside the bag.

My first thought was that the bag would fall over onto my groceries, and I snatched up my own small bag and turned my back to the stranger who had just appeared as if out of nowhere.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said in a loud oddly-pitched voice, “I didn’t mean ta skeer ya.”

I looked back over my shoulder. He was round in every dimension, covered in mis-matched camouflage colors, a little desert brown here, a little forest green there. He smelled like waste, an earthy primal smell. I didn’t look long, just turned back around to look in the direction the bus would come. Seven more minutes, if Tri-Met’s phone service was to be believed.

“Kin ya see the bus?” he asked.

“No.” I said it loudly, too loud for me, but matching his loud voice.

“Kin ya see the bus?” he asked again.

Apparently not loud enough. “No!” It felt like I shouted it.

He walked away, around some tall bushes, in the shadows away from the light over the bus stop. A couple of seconds later, a thin trickle of liquid ran out down the sidewalk from behind the trees and into the street. Then he emerged again, pulling at his pants zipper. He walked back to the bench, muttering “when ya gotta go,” under his breath as if in explanation for his public pissing. Was he justifying himself to me?

I ignored him and just stared down the street, willing the bus to come. I’m not normally outgoing in the best of circumstances, and today I’d been feeling even less social than normal. I really did not want to deal with someone like this guy, who apparently had much lower social boundaries than the general population.

He asked me again if I could see the bus, and I answered again in the negative. Then he said, “Oh, I’m sorry” except it sounded more like surree “I didn’t mean ta skeer ya. I was just makin’ conversation.”

I turned around to face him. Between his smell, his appearance, his strange voice, his nearly flattening my groceries, his choice of place for urination, and his propensity to stand behind me and talk loudly at me, I was honestly feeling more than a little creeped out. I admit seeing things through my own filters and feelings of leave me alone. I just said, “Huh? What? Sorry?” in a loud angry (to me) voice.

“Oh. Oh, OK. I was just makin’ conversation.” he mumbled.

Not today, pal. I struggled internally to just see him as another human being, equally deserving of some empathy. I thought, though, that ignoring him was better than snapping at him or getting angry. I’m still not sure that was the best mindset to have, though.

Just get here, bus, was all I could think.