So you’re standing at the bus stop, waiting patiently, when a lovely, sane-looking young man/woman approaches and stands next to you. You’re impressed by his sense of style or the way she carries herself and you want to strike up a conversation. But how? People waiting at bus stops are usually on guard against the mixed bag of nuts they cross paths with daily. Thinking back on my years of bus patronage, there have been so many times someone has attempted to kick-start a conversation in entirely the wrong way. What NOT to say:
“You have very nice toes.” There is no way to respond to this, “compliment,” politely without having a screwed-up, disgusted look on your face. Even though you’re saying thank you, you’re thinking, “You filthy perv! If you make ONE licking motion in my direction I will have to vom all over my pedicure.”
“Is it really cold enough to be wearing a sweatshirt?” Short answer: Yes. Medium-sized answer: Yeah, motherf*@&er, it is. Why else would I be wearing one? Long answer: Well look at you, out on the town. I was unaware that field trips were organized by the School for Persons with Own Business-Minding Disabilities. Perhaps you should encourage them to offer more occupational therapy opportunities.
“Do you have a light? Will you hold it for me?” As soon as you’re asked to hold something for a stranger you should run because their next move is to grab your hand to steady the lighter and their hands are invariably encrusted with filth. While it’s not very nice to say, “EW!” and drop the lighter it is perfectly acceptable to say, “Here, you keep it,” then scurry away to apply antibacterial gels and curse humanity.