I guess my summer of riding public transportation in San Francisco has made me WAY harder to faze on the metro than the average bear. Last night two of my new girl friends and I were coming back from a bar in the Back Bay of Boston on the T (the metro) at around 11:30. This old, bum-like dude who was simultaneously drinking vodka out of a paper bag, dragging a crutch and playing the harmonica came and parked himself across from us on the train. He busted out the harmonica and started yelling stuff out to us in between puffs on the harmonica/drinks from his bag, including, "Hey, aren't you gals the Dixie Chicks," and "Anyone want a drink?" It was your typical, happy drunk bum stuff.
See, if I had to develop a 1- 10 ranking system for creepy people on public transportation, it would look something like this: 1 would be the smelly guy talking to himself quietly, 5 would be the angry, all-black-wearing dude with long hair fingering something (a hunting knife, perhaps?) in his pocket, 10 would be the dude on the N-Judah a couple months ago who jumped off and repeatedly shoved a windshield wiper up his nose. Using this system, I would rank the guy on the T last night maybe a 1.5: creepier than the ladies with a bags full o' fish that I frequently sat next to on the bus this summer but less creepy than the old men who used to clip their nails on the 71. So, anyway, I was not fazed at all and kept on talking to my friends, ignoring the bum's invitations to come sit by him, sing him a country song, etc.
As soon as we got off the T at our stop (and the drunk bum got up, too), I realized that my friends were totally freaked out.
"Oh my God," one of them said, "we need to run out of here so he doesn't follow us!"
I looked at her, confused. "He's drunk and he has a crutch," I said. "I don't think we need to run."
Nonetheless, my friends were super creeped out; neither of them has spent much time on public transport, and I found myself in the opposite of my usual role in any group, which is the cautious, Mom-type figure. But I guess when it comes to the crazy, drug-addled members of society, I have learned to judge when it's necessary to be concerned and when something is just irritating. These are valuable life skills for a girl on her own. And I owe it all to shadies on the 71.