A couple of days ago, we had an unseasonably late-spring treat: The sun was shining, the temperature was around 70F with a light breeze, and the humidity was low. I figured this was probably going to be one of the last nice days so late in the spring before the long, dog days of summer arrived, so I decided to enjoy it by walking and taking the bus to run my errands.
At one point, I was waiting for the bus to go to the coffee house. I didn’t want to wait inside the bus shelter, so I walked about fifteen feet away to a low concrete border where I sat facing the direction from where the bus would be coming. About five minutes later, a young man whom I’d seen before at this same bus stop arrived and sat inside the shelter. He lit a cigarette, and I caught an occasional wisp of smoke as he puffed away. And yes, I’ll admit to feeling a bit indignant at this, because smoking at a bus stop is strictly forbidden. It is a public place, after all, and when you smoke, you smoke up the air for everyone else standing around waiting along with you, some with health problems. Not cool!
He finished his cigarette, but the bus had still not arrived. We were both bored. I resorted to coloring patches on the rubber of my sneaker using a six-color ball point pen I had purchased that morning at a museum gift shop. He, on the other hand, took out his lighter again and was busy lighting yet another cigarette. Only this one was stubborn because he had the lighter on for a good ten seconds, and he was pinching the cigarette hard between his thumb and index finger.
And then I realized that it wasn’t a cigarette, after all. It was a joint. It was three o’clock in the afternoon, and this guy was smoking a blunt in front of me at the bus stop to pass the time waiting for the bus to arrive!
And he didn’t even offer to share!
Eight blocks later, I got off the bus and heard another guy say, “Hey, sister!” and I knew he was talking to me.
Sister? I thought. I haven’t been called that on the street, before!
“Hey, sister,” he said, “I like your shoes.”
“I’ve got the exact same shoes, except they’re a different color. I don’t remember the brand, but they’re dude’s shoes. At least I hope they’re dude’s shoes!”
“Oh! Converse Jack Purcells! Yeah! These are really comfortable. I got mine on Zappos, I think. And yes,” I added as an afterthought, “they’re dude’s shoes,” and I grinned.
“No disrespect, sister!”
So… guy smoking a joint at the bus stop… another guy calling me “sister” to compliment my fabulous taste in footwear. This, my friends, is why I ride Metro.