I've never been one to fall for pick-up lines. Still, I gotta hand it to some of the guys on the bus. They get pretty creative. They never cease to leave me in awe, and granted most of my amusement comes from the fact that it must take an extreme amount of confidence and/or delusion to seriously believe that they'll be successful. For starters, the type of men that proposition me tend not to be young, finely chiseled images straight out of greek mythology - which is fine because that's not really my bag anyway, but at least it would be flattering. These are the cream of the crop thusfar. The Singer:
Returning from downtown one fine evening, I was riding the 6 back to my apartment when a 56 year old - by my estimate, got on with what I can only assume was a former girlfriend. He was equipped with a pot belly, and bags under his eyes that could have hidden quarters within their dark, wrinkly depths. She was donning a hot pink overcoat, platform shoes, and an extreme amount of rouge. After listening to him ask repeatedly whether or not she was seeing a new person and her repeatedly telling him that it was none of his business, I decided this was best left alone. However, things took a turn when La Femme Ancien(t) got off the bus and her rejected Beau redirected his attention at me.
"Well, it looks like I'm in the market, would you like to be my new girlfriend?"
I tried not to gag, pulled off my decoy headphones and replied, "I'm sorry?"
"I would serenade you."
There's a new one, I thought. As I turned my head away, to my horror he actually broke into song. He began with "I Get a Kick Out of You" in a Frank-Sinatra-esque voice that took me off guard but would never be enough to make me, a spry young woman of 20, consider shacking up with a man that could very well be my grandfather. When Frank didn't land him the romance he had anticipated, he turned instead to Nat King Cole. I snuck my headphones back on and turned away as the bus driver informed him that his vocals might not be appreciated by all the riders on the bus. "Well that's fine, this is my stop anyway." was his retort, and 5 stops later he exited the bus. The Fisherman
8 hours of work at Pier 1 will make a bus ride home look pretty good. Still, the other riders are extremely unpredictable. When I got on the bus I figured that I was in a pretty normal bunch, and was thankful for that due to my exhaustion and lack of diversion. I was wrong. The guy a few seats back had nodded and smiled as I sat down. I assumed that he just got off of work at some kind of painting job, due to his extreme tan and faded clothes spackled with paint. After a blessed minute of silence, he extended a nonchalant valediction.
The conversation was pretty general. Isn't the weather lovely? Aren't the lakes lovely? When, without any warning whatsoever, he launched into his childhood and past. Evidently, he has lived in the area his entire life and was recently kicked out of his brother's house because he has the tendency to "party too hard" for his 36-year-old younger brother - who owns and lives above a bar. His hobbies include, partying and fishing. "Have you ever been fishing?"
I share a fishing story with him, hoping that it'll buy me enough time for him to get off the bus. It doesn't.
"Hot damn! A fisher-wo
man! I finally met a fisher-wo
man! I was beginning to think that ya'll didn't exist. Hooeee!"
Thankfully, he dove into more stories from his past and saved the propositions for later. Thousands of walleye, trout, and bluegills have apparently met their death at his hand. I smile and nod, insert a monosyllabic answer when absolutely necessary, and pray for a bus-accident. No luck. The stories continue.
"Well ma'am, it's my stop but it was a pleasure meeting you." He extends his hand for a hand-shake. I reluctantly accept and mumble a "likewise". To my horror, he lifts my hand up in the air and bellows, "I CAUGHT A KEEPER! LOOK AT THIS ONE!" and hands me a piece of paper with his name, number, and an invitation to "go catch the big one". The Spanish Teacher
Ironically, I seem to recieve the most propositions when en route to my boyfriend's house. Only two stops into my ride, a Mexican man carrying three plastic bags filled with unidentifiable objects gets on the bus and promptly dumps about 5 dollars into the bus, even though the fare is $1.25. "I have money to burn," he says with a wink, and his eyes rake the bus looking for the most desirable seat. His eyes fall upon me and the woman next to me and he drops his bags and unloads the following:
"God may be ugly, but some of his daughters are sooo beautiful."
The woman next to me decides to abandon ship before this goes any further and moves behind the young black girl screaming into her cell phone about "stayin' tha fuck outta her biz-ness". He is visibly wounded and it would have been pitiful had he not chosen then to speak to the hispanic gentlemen next to him about my body. I'm not irritated so much at his audacity, but at his assumption that I do not speak spanish. Therefore, I listen intently and lay in wait. When he has talked himself back up to confidence, he tries again.
"Hablas español?" he asked in my general direction.
I decided to play along, turn my head in mock confusion, and asked if he was talking to me.
"Yes, do you speak Spanish?"
"Si, un poco. Quatro años en escuelas differentes, y dos años pasados yo fui a Puerto Vallarta, Mexico."
Again, he withers a little. Obviously worried that I may have overheard his lewd remarks, which I had. However, he was not completely broken yet.
"I could give you private lessons, teach you to speak beautiful Spanish. We could start tonight, I could teach you at my apartment."
"Actually, I have plans tonight."
"Well there's always tomorrow. I was born in Mexico, spent 20 years of my life there, I could teach you everything you need to know."
Luckily, at that moment an eavesdropper leapt courageously into the conversation. I was deeply amused by his wardrobe, as he looked like a stereotypical tourist. Complete with a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, balding head, camera slung around his neck, and an unforgivable pair of leather sandals, he was deeply interested in where exactly
in Mexico this man had been. Out comes an enchantingly falsified tale...
Spanish Teacher: "I was born in Germany, but my parents are both Mexican and we grew up around Mexico City."
Tourist: (yes, he shouted everything) "HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO COZUMEL?"
Spanish Teacher: "Oh, yes, it's very nice."
Tourist: "WHAT ABOUT CANCUN?"
Spanish Teacher: "Yes but that is more, Americanized. Not the true Mexico."
Spanish Teacher: "Now Puerto Vallarta, is both." *rougish wink*
Tourist: OH TELL ME ABOUT IT. I WANT TO GO THERE.
Spanish Teacher: Well I haven't been in Mexico for about 20 years...
**Mental Math = Over 40**
TOURIST: OH... WELL DO YA MISS IT?
Spanish Teacher: No, not really. I mean, here it is hard to find a job because I can only work for cash...*illegal immigrant* ...and I really need to because I just got fired off my old one but I like living up here better. I went out to Chicago but still I like here more... The lakes around here are just beautiful, you know?
I tune out. I figure that I'm home free. Every now and then I hear a blurb about WHETHER OR NOT IT'S HUMID IN PUERTO VALLARTA or traveling across all different areas of Mexico during childhood and other such difficulties. I feel pity, but I really
am hoping this man has abandoned his initial offer, and that he gets off before I do. Unfortunately for moi, the tourist concludes his conversation and exits the bus... leaving an uncomfortable silence in between the Spanish Teacher staring at me, and me staring at my knees, pretending to do something important on my cell phone.
"Do you like snakes?"
I'm a bit taken aback by this one. I cough reflexively and simply say, "Pardon?" At this point, he holds out his closed fist and starts to make one of his veins slither. Now, as a girl who used to own a boa constrictor, I can handle snakes. Strange anatomical impersonations of snakes, however, are a bit of a different story. I can't contain myself...
"That's actually kind of gross."
"What about this?" He widens his eyes and starts to make his irises shake.
"That's definitely creepy."
"Well that's what snakes are, are they not?"
"No, I don't think so."
"Oh? Are you experienced with snakes?"
I keep a cool head, "I suppose you could say that."
He grins. I give him the stare of icey indifference and decide to try to freak him out.
"I used to own a 6 foot boa constrictor, and a python."
"Oh, so you like big
"Not particularly. I said that I used
to own them. There is a reason I no longer do."
At which point he melts himself off the bus, leaving his bags behind. I'd feel cruel, except I'm too busy trying to forget the creepy anatomical oddities.
And so, I think it is safe to determine that you will not be finding your Prince Charming on the bus. No, inevitably the bachelors you find will be at least 40 years old (minus the - count 'em - one
exception, see MT Diary: Dude
) and are either illegally residing in the United States, unemployed and/or homeless, or harboring some extremely horrifying talent (if you're lucky - you'll catch the jackpot and they'll be equipped with all three.)