Bus Fare

People are. It’s a broad statement that you can drop a stone into and never hear it hit bottom, but I think it’s the only statement about all humanity that I can make and still claim it to be true. Some people are stranger than others. Some, more gregarious.

I was busing up from Osprey to Sarasota, a trio of Frisbees in hand. I had painted them, you see, with glow paint. There I stood, the girl in blue glasses, a black work uniform, an aggressive assortment of metal in my ears, clutching three faintly glowing disks to my chest while I fished in my pocket for bus fare. I’ve looked weirder boarding buses– but I have a theory that one’s approachability is inversely proportional to the oddity of one’s appearance, minus the factor of one’s displayed gender. I got no eye contact when I was porting a black Victorian skirt adorned with peacock feathers and wearing boots that looked as though they could crush testicles. The glue gun in my pocket trailing its orange cord may have helped. Suddenly, when I’m carrying green glowing Frisbees, I’m everyone’s friend. And most times, I can’t say I entirely mind.

This is because strange people are fascinating: “So what are those for?” asks the man sitting at the front of the bus, before I even sit. I can’t tell if he’s mildly intoxicated, just a bit over-friendly, oddly socialized, a combination of the above, or something else entirely. It doesn’t matter. He has a blue jacket, and he slumps, making occasional remarks to the driver as he speaks to me.

I, in my peculiar way, am intrigued. Despite my occasional hermit spells, I count myself as an extrovert. This is why: “These? These are for the first meeting of our late-night Frisbee club,” i don’t even invent a lie. “We’re going to be absolutely silly chasing Frisbees in the dark.”

“Why do you say that’s silly? Sounds pretty fun to me,” he says.

“Well, what’s fun for us isn’t always normal to everyone else,” I shoot back, amused.

“Say, is this up at New College?” he has it in one. Infamy, I suppose.

“It is, indeed,” here i start to squirm, a little, discomfort growing. And yes, I really do speak like that. “I’ve got the glowing paint so we can find the Frisbees and the glowing bracelets so we can find the players.”

He laughs. “Are you going to have fun, then.”

“Hey, why do it if it won’t be fun? Friends, Frisbees, and snacks.”

“Sex?” he mishears, perhaps on purpose. “You can count me in!”

I twitch uncomfortably as I smile. “Now you’re just kidding me, giving me a hard time. No sex. Just snacks. Chips and ginger snaps.”

“I would never give you a hard time,” he winks. “Except–” and he laughs just a little too loudly at his own cleverness.

I shake my head, still smiling my plastic defense, as he says to the bus driver, “Hey, you want to come out to New College to play Frisbee?” For the next ten minutes, he mock-cajoles the driver into joining the game.

After a few more stops, he gets off the bus while I remain, heading further north. It was strange, a strained interaction, trying to tilt into the friendly even while it hunched awkwardly outside the standards of the norm– slightly too open, slightly too forced. Intriguing and discomforting. But that can be the way of conversations between strange people on public transport. In the end, all I can say is, no matter how strange– people are.

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