Friday, July 25, 2003

Something Pleasant, for a Change

It's sometime between 7.30 and 8.00 pm at the corner of Collins Street and Spencer Street. THere's a young cat crying out across the road, but I haven't been able to work out where and, anyway, my tram is going to arrive soon. It's the 109 to Port Melbourne and I don't want to miss it, despite my self-serving interest in maybe picking up a stray moggy that I can carry home later on in the bag of library books I've got tucked under my left arm. The tram arrives so I can quite conveniently put aside the caterwauling moggy as somebody else's problem, and carry on with my plans for the eveneing.

I get on the tram at the last door. It's not peak-hour crowded, but I still habve to look around for a vacant seat. I walk to the back of the tram - you look up at me and smile. Maybe it's not the full smile you'd give to an old friend, but it's enough to let a complete stranger know that you'll tolerate him in your space. I sit down and pull a silly library book out of the bag under my left arm. I already know that it's a silly book - that's why I borrowed it. I'm looking forward to ripping it to pieces here on mhy blog, later.

We rattle through south-west Melbourne. I'm reading. I'm making it very obvious that I'm reading, so you won't get the idea that the only reason that I'm sitting here opposite you is that you're an attractive young woman who's made it pretty clear that you don't mind my being here. I read through the silly first chapter of the silly book, making it very obvious that i'm just some guy who happens to be on the same tram, who has business of his own. Like reading silly books. As soon as I see the chance - as soon as the seat on the opposite side of the aisle is free - I move, so you'll know that I'm not assuming that there's anything more between us than that we're a couple of strangers on a tram who are prepared to put up with each other's company. If I was seriously thinking about it, I'd probably say you're too young for me anyway. It's easier than admitting that I'm too old for you.

The tram reaches my stop. I'm too late getting up, and I nearly fall into the lap of a Chinese guy sitting on the seat next to me when I get up to get off. It's your stop too, but I don't know that until I'm walking past you and you say "Excuse me, I've just had two red wines, but I just wanted to say that you looked like an interesting person. You seem very thoughtful." I'm not sure that that's exactly what you said, but it's close. Right now I'm reconstructing events from memory and the notes I took down a little later. After a short delay, I reply: "Thanks. maybe I should speak to people who have had a couple of reds more often."

The conversation goes on a little longer - we both have to walk in the same direction, at least for a little while. You tell me that you have to read up on joint occupancy. I say something whichisn't too bright, like "Oh. Legal stuff. Well good luck with it." Our ways separate for a short while: not because either of us really wants it, but because I think it's the courteous thing. You walk on down the street - I turn into the door of the pub, confidently expecting to get my arse kicked in tonight's trivia challenge. And that's that.

Except for one thing - if you happen to read this, I'd just like to make it very clear that I didn't write it because I want to go steady or anything. OK?

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