While riding the bus to campus this morning, I noticed an older man with hair long enough to reach the small of his back. He had just gotten onto the bus, and he was talking to no one in particular as he sipped from his Wendy’s coffee cup. As he was finishing his sentence, his eyes settled on mine. I took this as an invitation to talk. I took off my headphones, said goodbye to “Comfortably Numb”, and asked him if he could repeat himself.
“When a person says, ‘Thank you.’ it is an expression of gratitude. When a person says thank you yet asks for more, that is bordering on begging.” He said to me. “I’ve seen people who are older than me and they don’t know very much. I’ve talked to 4 year olds who are chatterboxes.”
“Some people go through traumatic events and end up going further into themselves, unable to listen to anyone. Some people are wise beyond their years because they grew from the traumatic event.”
We continued to talk and at one point I could hardly hear him because of the revving of the bus engine, which is considerably loud, especially on the older buses.
“Maybe there is something in your brain that is keeping you from hearing me.” He responded. Then he talked about God and the Devil, and how the Devil is an entity just as alive as anyone else. He told me that some form of darkness was invading my brain and kept me from being able to hear him.
The bus stopped to pick someone else up, and we could hear a fight going on outside. He looked me straight in the eyes and told me, “Don’t pay attention to that, it’s a distraction.” and he kept talking.
He saw a tree that looked like a willow and asked me if it was a willow. I didn’t know for sure.
“It looks like a birch tree, though.” He said. “Maybe it is a birch tree that was genetically mixed with a willow tree. Maybe it was natural, or maybe it was done by man.”
“A human being is naturally born from the Earth, so if a man were to combine the genetics of two trees, is it not still natural?” I said to him.
“I never thought of it that way.” He said. “I am very glad I rode the bus today, I learned a lot. Thank you.”
I was very glad to have had an honest and interesting conversation with someone. I cherish those kind of talks on the bus. They are random and you learn about people and all the various personalities that encompass humanity.
Then he said, “I am going to get off of the bus soon. Hopefully I will see you again. Would you want my number? Life is short after all.”
I am flattered by his interest, but I am already in a relationship with someone whom I love and cherish. I tell him, “Maybe you would like talking to my boyfriend.”
“Oh, you have a boyfriend. Never mind then.” He said. “I don’t do three way relationships.”
“Neither do I.” I told him. “I like to have conversations with people on the bus. If someone talks to me, I try to listen.”
He smiled at me and stopped talking.
He was very nice about it all, but then he abruptly got up and went to talk to someone he knew in the back of the bus. He was done talking to me. He got off the bus a few stops later and said Thank You to the bus driver.
I wonder if he knew I had a boyfriend from the beginning if he would have talked to me. It is unfortunate that knowing my relationship status was a determining factor in him wanting to talk.
Young or old, male or female, I think that everyone is worth talking to at least once.