Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Another Bus Friend
On Friday I volunteered at the Symphony.
I got all dressed up (but with flat shoes; volunteers will be standing for most of their shift) and caught a train.
I picked a spot near the middle of the train, where I had a normal bench, and then there was a seat facing the middle of the bus right in front of my bench.
A guy got on the train and sat in the seat right by my bench (instead of choosing a seat facing forward). Although I was reading something on my phone, I noticed that he was staring at me. He was a guy from somewhere in the middle east, and he looked about 40.
"Hello," he said.
"Hello," I replied.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Emily," I said. "Yours?"
"David." He held his hand out, and I shook it. Because that's the polite thing to do.
"I liking you verymuch." He told me. He grinned. He grinned a lot while we talked.
"Oh, thanks," I said. [Because what do you say when someone tells you they liking you verymuch?]
I went back to reading on my phone, and he kept watching me.
"I like verymuch."
And then he put his hand on my thigh, like right above my knee, and left it there.
"I like verymuch."
I removed his hand. "Thanks."
Now that he had my attention, he started talking to me: "How old are you?"
"Twenty-five." I told him. "You?"
And while I waited for him to respond, I evaluated. He could be forty. Maybe 35. Maybe 32 and just looks older.
"Twenty-six!" [Of course.]
I didn't really say anything, so he reminded me, "I like verymuch." And he kind of pointed at me.
But I thought maybe he was pointing at my skirt because it was sparkly, so I told him I was volunteering at the symphony.
"Ah," he said, as though he understood.
I started looking outside the train to see where we were, because I needed to get off at the grocery store to get new stockings, since they seem appropriate for the symphony.
My stop was coming up so I gathered my stuff. He noticed that I was gathering my stuff, and he got up. He stood in front of the exit, waiting to get off before me.
"I like verymuch," he said, as we were getting off the train.
"Yeah," I said, not really impressed or surprised. "Like her very much!" I suggested, and I pointed to another girl who was getting on the train as we were getting off.
He smiled. "Ah." It was an affirmative noise, and I knew that he didn't understand but was pretending to, probably to impress me.
"You working?" he asked.
"No." Because I was going to the grocery store, not to work. And then I realized that probably wasn't what he was asking. "I'm a student," I added.
I avoided too much eye contact and focused on my phone, and on going to the grocery store.
I hoped he wouldn't keep following me.
We crossed the street and as we did, I remembered something funny:
[NOTE: I don't really remember the order of this story, or the details; I'll have to see if I can find something about it in one of my journals. This is basically what happened, though.]
When I was on my mission, we had problems with a guy following us. It all started because I thought we should give pass-along cards to everyone, because everyone needed the gospel in their lives. (Right?) So I invited this Albanian (I think?) guy to church. And he showed up at church during the week, and someone just happened to be there, and he said he was looking for the missionaries. And they mentioned our English lessons which were the next day.
I don't remember why we weren't there, but I think we weren't, and the Elders taught English that week. But he came for English class, completely drunk. Great.
And then, the next morning we were grocery shopping and he saw us as we were about to leave the grocery store. He said hi to me, and started talking, and kept talking and kept talking. And all of us had finished buying our groceries, and he started following us as we were walking home.
And he kept following us. And we kept, like, concluding the conversation and like saying goodbye, and he kept following us.
And we didn't want to bring him home with us, but we had a ton of groceries, so we weren't really sure what to do.
We ended up taking a bus from our little suburb to downtown Genova. We carried all of our groceries to the church. AND! He came with us on the bus. One of my companions asked him what he was doing that day, and he had nothing he was doing. Great.
When we got downtown, he stopped following us, and we waited at the church for a couple hours to be sure that he was gone, and then we went home.
After that, my companions would only let me give pass-along cards with the Elders' phone number to questionable people.
But David didn't follow me. When we got across the street, he said "Goodbye!" and I said "Goodbye," and we walked in opposite directions.