A windy day of weak spotty showers was interrupted by an hour-long torrential thunderstorm. We were stuck at a bus stop on Denny, pretending that the convenience store sign we were standing under would shelter us from the rain. A bus pulled up, and both the seats and the aisle were packed with downtown shoppers. We stood in the back entrance’s stairwell. One rider was providing commentary: “This is the most crowded I’ve ever seen it on this bus. It’s belly buttons to assholes in here.” He implied that he’d run things differently: “I usually ride this bus in the afternoon, and I’ve never seen it like this. I can’t believe he’s still letting people on.” He wasn’t talking to his seatmate and he wasn’t talking to the bus. He was just talking. When Samantha identified our stop through the fogged up glass, I asked the talker if he’d pull the request stop cord for me. He didn’t seem to hear me at first; he was used to being ignored. I asked again, and he gave me a reluctant acknowledgment before pulling the cord. When the bus stopped, we dodged out into the rain, and he said, “Good. We could use the space.”
There was no pretence on this end…I firmly believed the convenience store sign was helpful.