You walk or bus or train to work via the same route and at the same time each day. You order from your favourite Chinese and favourite Pizza place. You get lunch in the same deli nearly every day. You buy a newspaper in the same shop each day or you pick up a freesheet at the same corner each day. I’ll bet there’s a couple of people you see on your way to work each day way that you’ve never spoken to, shop assistants you only ever thank for your change or delivery guys that know the destination of the food just by looking at the order. But what about someone you don’t know that keeps popping up in different places?
Years ago, like 8 years ago, this guy started talking to me on the train. Now, in general I’ll engage in a very brief, ‘Yeah, will the rain ever stop?’ or ‘Sure at least it’s the weekend’ type conversation with a stranger on public transport before picking up my book or simply letting them know I don’t want to talk to them by turning and looking out the window, ignoring any chance for further chat. This guy was different, he was quite loud and in typical male-without-any-cop-on fashion, just leaned across the table towards me as though being more up close and personal meant I’d automatically want to chat to him. There just wasn’t a way to ignore him, so I found myself in a conversation with him but I wasn’t exactly going out of my way to keep it going. And he just kept talking to me. Rather loudly. I could see people looking and wondering why they were subjected to him as well. Boy was I glad to get off that train!
I happened to notice him getting on the same train as me a few years after that – and I made sure to sit at a seat that was already occupied by 3 people, something I wouldn’t normally do, thus avoiding him. He sat nearby though, as I could hear him boring the pants off the poor unfortunates he did end up sitting beside. Then about a year ago, when I was heading to my parents, there he was! Right beside me waiting to get on the bus! I raced down the bus and hoped he’d take a seat closer to the driver, which he did. Phew! A couple of months ago, yep, he was getting the same bus as me and I literally shuddered with fear when by some horrible coincidence we exchanged glances.
A few weeks ago, I’m convinced he was in HQ! My local! I finished my lovely fag quicksmart and ran back to the comfort of my drink, praying that it was simply someone that looks like him taking up space in my smoking room! I didn’t smoke again until we were in a different pub.
Last night, I was heading from work around 5.30. Can you guess who was also getting on the same bus? Of course you can! Bloody well him! I practically slid under my seat to avoid his looking-for-someone-to-talk-to perusal of who was on the bus. A second later I could hear him trying to start up a conversation with the driver! What’s with this guy? Does he like, need to talk to everyone?!
I think I’m stuck with this intermittent shadow. Groan.