Robert Hampton

Another visitor! Stay a while… stay forever!

8th July 2003

Leave me alone!
Posted by at 11.09pm | No responses | Uncategorised

So a girl gets on the bus today, sits on a seat opposite me, and starts giving me a funny look. Nothing unusual so far. But… after a couple of minutes, she says, “Hello”.

Alarm bells ring. DANGER! DANGER! Stranger wants to talk to me! I hate making conversation with strangers unless there is a predefined social setting (including but not limited to parties, Bar-Mitzvahs, MSN Messenger and dodgy city centre bars). I am, however, a polite person, so I if anyone initiates a conversation with me, I am happy to respond.

However, unexpected conversations always catch me completely off guard. My bus journey home is a leisurely ride through Albert Dock and Brunswick Business Park. It’s a precious 30 minutes between leaving work and arriving home when I can just look out the window and don’t have to force myself to make smalltalk. And now Wotsername has shown up out of the blue to ruin all my best-laid plans.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” she continued, “I was on the school bus to Merchant Taylors’ with you.”

Oh, great. Ex-school person. I dread meeting up with ex-school persons, because the conversation is always the same: Why did you leave school? What are you doing now? Wow, is that it?

So I mumble a reply that even I couldn’t hear.

Then there’s a pause.

A looooong pause.

We’re just rolling past Queen’s Dock.

“So, what you are doing now?” she asks.

“Er…” Crap, I’ve actually forgotten what I do for a living. “I’m working in a solicitor’s office.”

“You’re a solicitor?”

“No no no no, not a solicitor. Just a, er, assistant.”

“Oh, right. I had to repeat a year at uni.”

Great, well that’s obviously of deep significance to me, considering I have NO IDEA WHO YOU ARE!

And that was it. We spent the remaining 20 minutes of the journey sitting in awkward silence.

Longest. Bus Journey. Ever.

My limited social skills fail me once again. And I still can’t remember who she is.

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