Saturday, November 11, 2006

Strangers on the Light Rail

Last night, I took the light rail home from work. When I got on the train, I sat in the front car. There was a guy across the aisle from me who looked about 17. He quietly asked, "Excuse me, but do you have a cell phone I could borrow to make one call?" He could have run off the train with my phone or even just continued to sit there for the rest of the trip but refused to give back my phone, and what was I going to do about it? Nothing. So I smiled politely and said no.

As the train started moving, I thought, "Oh no! What if someone calls me? The guy will hear my phone ringing. Awkward!"

Then we reached the next stop. I realized that the problem was not going to be that someone might call me. The problem was going to be that I needed to call H when we got to the next stop to tell him to come pick me up at the usual light rail station. I just told the guy I don't have a phone. I think he might notice I lied to him when I take out my phone and use it. Should I get up and move to another car? Should I just use my phone and hope the guy is not a crazy person who is going to freak out? He seems pretty normal. Shoot. The guy is now using his chest as a drum and thumping his chest to a beat. Is he crazy or just a bored teenager? Maybe he will get out at the next stop. Ok, he didn't get off. I will give him one more stop while I pretend to read my book. Ok, he didn't get off at this stop either. Screw it, I'm using my phone.

So I called H. I didn't look over to gauge the reaction of the guy or look at him for the rest of the trip. When we got off my stop, H wasn't there yet. I turned around to make sure the guy didn't follow me off the train. He didn't. So I waited in a little shelter next to a woman about my age who was also waiting for a ride. We had some polite weather conversation and then I told her my story about the awkwardness on the train. I don't know why I really even have a blog, because I just tell people all these stories anyway.

14 comments:

Amy said...

Haha. I like that you told the woman waiting that cos then it made an entertaining blog entry! I did have a woman sit next to me on the bus the other day who decided to start talking at me about her essay she'd just written and she asked me loads of questions and I was a bit frightened. I'm sure you didn't frighten the lady though..I'll go now!

Yez said...

I love this entry :> That sort of awkwardness happens to me a lot. It seems like a small thing, hardly worth all the anxiety we bring to it, but on the other hand, could we end up bereft of phone, black-&-blue and stuffed in a trash can? :-D Yesterday at the local (beloved, safe) convenience store, I'd gotten in my car to leave, and a guy in the next car smiled and made inscrutable hand signals at me. After a second of trying to figure them out, I decided that rolling down my passenger window was Too Hard, so I got out and walked around to talk to him :> It was broad daylight with plenty of people around, so I was pretty sure I wouldn't be molested, but I was a little surprised at myself for walking right up to a strange guy. He just wanted to talk about cameras! We had a pleasant little conversation, and then I got in my car and drove away. On the way home, I wondered if he'd seen my wedding ring (this is hilarious in itself, since I'm far from babe-o-licious, and he was considerably younger than I). Then I remembered: practically my first words to him were, "Oh, my husband had a Canon A1, I think." It was true, and I was answering his comment about Canons, but I get such a kick out of my subconscious' decision to say "my HUSBAND"!

digital janitor said...

I've had people ask me to borrow my phone on the bus on two occasions - one was a teenage guy who sounded a lot like your dude, and one was an older woman. I let both of them use my phone, but I can see why it would be different for a woman to do so.

It sucks that we live in a world where women can't do things like that without fearing for their safety.

don't call me MA'AM said...

I would SO do something like that... maybe that's why I don't ever use public transportation. ha.

JayAre said...

I so would have said no, too. But then, I don't even like letting my friends use my cell phone (although I do anyway) because I have a neurosis about face grease and make-up. I know, I am an insane person.

Yez said...

Just FYI - this is so weird. My RSS feed for you has "London Calling" (Nov. 2) as the latest entry, with a Blogger icon, no less! (All the others have page icons.) Having learned my lesson about clearing cache, I did that and the weirdness persisted - I don't think it's you or me, I think that RSS is on another prevarication jag :>

-R- said...

Amy, the woman I was standing with actually started the conversation, so it wasn't all me just talking away at her. =)

Yez, isn't that funny how you were sure to point out you are married! I have found myself doing that before as well.

DJ, the guy probably would have just used my phone and given it back, but I tend to be overly cautious. It is sad that I feel I have to be that way.

Ma'am, I have never had any issues on the bus, just the light rail. And not very often. Mostly, I just overhear weird conversations, which could make for some good blog posts!

JR, I don't mind sharing a phone or even a drink with friends, but I am probably on extreme of those who don't carry about germs. Although I do have SOME limits!

Yez, that is annoying. Let me know if it starts working again. I have no idea how to fix the RSS feed.

digital janitor said...

"London Calling" is the latest RSS feed post that I see too. Did you by any chance upgrade to the newer Blogger around the time of that post? If so, you might need to check your RSS settings - it may have gotten turned off in the upgrade.

Also, the link to the feed is a little bit wrong. Right now, its:

http://andyouknowwhatelse.blogspot.com//atom.xml

If you look closely, there are two // before the atom.html. There should only be one.

Feel free to shoot me a private email if you need a hand with the settings.

-R- said...

Hmm... I didn't upgrade until Friday 11/11 (sorry, DCMM!), so I am not sure why it got messed up. I will take a look and see if I can figure it out. Thanks for the offer, DJ. I may need your help.

Marmite Breath said...

Um, R, what is the light rail?

I don't think I'd let somebody use my phone either. For all you know, they could program some code in there that allows them to bill any future calls on their cell phone to YOUR cell phone. Yes, I am paranoid. They could also use your cell phone to beat you to death. Yes, I said paranoid.

-R- said...

Marmite/Nat, the light rail is a commuter train, like a subway but above ground. I didn't even think of the beating or programming options; good call. =)

Galoot said...

I picture you on the bench, talking to everyone who sits with you about this experience. R Gump!

3carnations said...

Technically, "no" could have meant you didn't have one he could BORROW, which was true...Not that you simply don't have a phone.

I wouldn't have loaned it to him either...

-R- said...

Galoot, close, but there was no bench. And she started talking to me so there!

3cars, ha, I totally thought of that too when I was trying to decide whether to use my phone or not.