I’ve been taking a class in the city this semester and I have to take a bus and a train to get there. And every week, I wait for the bus at the terminal at Port Authority in the same spot at the same time. And every week there’s a different crowd waiting with me.
Except for one woman.
Every week there is one woman who is always there in the same spot. At the same time. Getting on the same bus. This has gone on for two straight months, non-stop. It’s happened so often that I now know what stop she gets off at. So, of course, I have to talk to her.
But there’s a problem. Besides the fact that no New Yorker in their right mind ever, ever speaks to a stranger on the bus or train, the whole scenario itself is fundamentally creepy. What am I gonna say to this woman? “Hey, I’ve been watching you for the past six weeks and notice that we take the same bus.”
(Now pause for a second. Some of you are probably wondering what my motivation for approaching this woman is. Is she attractive? It just so happens that she is. But that’s besides the point. If you know anything about me, you know that the driving motivation behind this is mainly that I like talking to people on public transportation. For more evidence of this, read some of The Adventures of an Awkward Train Rider).
There’s also a host of other moving pieces that could potentially make this a disaster. She’s young and is usually alone. She’s white and I’m black. We’re usually the only two people in the terminal for a good 15 minutes. And like I said before, she happens to be relatively attractive. So at best I’ll look like I’m hitting on her and at worst trying to kidnap her. On top of all this, she’s usually wearing headphones so I’d have to actually touch her to get her attention, which could lead to all sorts of dangerous fiascoes.
Then there’s the nagging question I can’t answer. What if she hasn’t noticed that we’re always together? How would I explain that to her without sounding like a stalker?
So I decided to get some advice from friends on how to approach this delicate operation. Some advised me to be casual, some told me to start with a smile and see how she reacts. My female friends warned me to stay away from phrases like, “I noticed you.” or “I’ve been watching you.” My guy friends told me to just dive right in with, “Hey Shawty!” or lead with some Usher lyrics like, “You remind me of a girl that I once knew…”
But after weighing all the options, I finally decide that I have to just do it. But by the time I gather the courage, it’s already the end of the semester and I only have one class left. I’m only gonna get one shot at this. It’s now or never…