I need to stop smiling at strangers on the bus.
I try to keep myself as inaccessible as possible by listening to music and reading, and then I go and ruin it by appearing friendly. It’s counterproductive.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve sat through an entire bus ride while Mr. Smells-Like-Pee tells me about his collection of “vintage” strip club matchboxes, or while Ms. Emotional-Baggage asks me if I think her latest one night stand will call her (he doesn’t). E.B and I have actually taken the bus together six times, she recognizes me now and will deliberately sit next to me. Awesome.
On the bright side, I have perfected the sympathetic nod and the interested “Hmmm?”
Back to the point, I’m not sure why I smile at strangers. Perhaps it’s because I hold out hope that Ms. Frizzle will appear and, after shouting “Bus do your stuff!” we will go on a zany adventure?
It hasn’t happened yet.
More likely it’s because of my Mom. My Mom has the amazing gift of being able to talk to anyone. She makes friends everywhere she goes and it’s something I’ve always admired and tried to emulate. But while she meets normal people, I always seem to encourage the weirdos. (Like attracting like?)
Maybe I meet weirdos because I didn’t inherit my Mother’s gift of gab. I’m extremely awkward at the best of times and, while I like to think it’s part of my charm, I usually just make people uncomfortable. Like, really uncomfortable.
With that said, I probably shouldn’t be so judgmental; I’m sure Mr. LOVES-Tacos *wink* and Mrs. Collects-Pokemon-Cards (but doesn’t play them) are perfectly nice people.
They just aren’t nice people I want to get to know.
The trick is to remember that the old adage “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet” doesn’t apply to people who take transit.