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Bus Story: An Uncomfortable Familiarity

October 27, 2010

The chilly but dry-for-the-moment morning is producing a glorious sunrise, casting orange and gold light on the riders of the ole 54. It’s one of those rare rides when the bus is perfectly full – every seat taken, but no one left standing. Just before we head downtown, I notice a woman across the aisle from me keeps glancing at the woman in front of me. Furtively at first, but then she shifts to openly staring – that kind of stare that the recipient can feel inch up the back if their neck. And she achieves her desired result because the woman in front of me turns slowly, not knowing why she is compelled, but clearly senses something amiss. Staring Woman breaks into a big smile and greets the object of her gaze by name, “Well, hi Laura, I was SURE that was you!” Laura, on the other hand, doesn’t register much, but what is there is uncomfortable and slightly peeved. “Oh, yeah, uh, hi.” No name returned and Laura slightly swivels back to face forward. There are about 6 of us in the Chill Radius who involuntarily shiver at the social cold-shoulder Laura has delivered. Staring Woman recoils, and quickly opens a book and we all pretend to look anywhere else. Greeting familiar people on the bus clearly holds a bit of risk, and I would bet that it’s a long time before Staring Woman makes that attempt with anyone else. And I would like to take Cold-Shoulder Laura aside for a fierce conversation. We humans can be delicate creatures and our feelings can be easily bruised.

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From → Bus Stories

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