Field Report, January 27 & 28, 2014

My afternoon Max rides have been fairly uneventful lately, save for the fact that I find myself being hit on by younger men.

The first time this happened was about two weeks ago, post-miscarriage and breakup.  I was attempting to remain absorbed in my book while this young man sitting next to me attempted to use any opportunity to start conversation.   He seemed very sweet, perhaps in his early to mid-20s, and I tried to remain polite, but I really had no interest in chatting.  He kept asking me questions about where I am headed, what book was I reading, what other books do I like to read, etc.

I would answer each question with a polite smile, and then turn back to my book.  Undaunted, he would then ask another question.  It took all I had not to be like, “Bitch please, can’t you see I’m busy trying to read my mutherfuckin’ book on this motherfuckin’ train?!”

But he had kind eyes, and I’m far too nice to ever actually say that to another human being.  It was close to his stop, and he gathered his things.  “What was your name?” he asked.  I told him, and then he told me his, but I cannot remember what it was.  He then looked at me expectantly, as if I was going to offer my number or ask for his, or perhaps get off at his stop and we could go get an ice cream cone together.

At this point, my attitude softened, and I just wanted to say, “Look, son, you have no idea where I’ve been and what I’ve seen.   Save yourself and find a nice girl.”

I told him goodbye, and he gave me a disappointed smile, and left the train.

Incident number two occurred last night.  I was absorbed in my Twitter feed, when a young man sat next to me.  The very first thing I noticed was that he reeked of cigarettes.  I am fairly certain he jumped out of the shower, and while still damp, rolled around in an ashtray, and then put his clothes on.

I looked at him out of the corner of my eye.  Young man, dressed decently, with a backpack.  He was shoving a soft drink cup into his pocket, the loud distraction causing me to turn and completely look at him.  I gave a polite smile and turned back to my phone.

“Are you a student?”


“No, I’m not. I work in the Lloyd District.” I said.  At this point I gripped my phone tighter, in case he was an Apple Pickin’ Asshole.  (“Apple Picking” occurs when the train’s doors open, someone capitalizes on your distraction and grabs your phone and runs off the train.)

“Oh, what do you do?” 

“I work for the state.”

“Oh, nice.  I’m a student at PSU.  I’m just a few classes away from getting my sociology degree.”

“That’s great, congratulations.”  I really didn’t want to keep engaging him in conversation, so I would look back at my phone with each answer.  This did not deter him. 

“I’m planning on pursuing a medical degree.”

I looked up at this young man, mid to late 20s, and gave him a head to toe scan.  Leather jacket, dark hoodie underneath with the hood up, black jeans, slight facial hair, and eyes that revealed a level of stoned I haven’t seen since my restaurant days.

If this is the future of medical care in America, I’m moving to Europe.

The ashtray smell was so strong that I kept trying to breathe through my mouth without making it obvious.  “That’s great,” I lied. 

The small talk continued.  “So do you take the train every day?” he asked.

“Just some days,” I replied.  I’ll make sure to avoid this day and time from now on.

He then told me about his commute, which involves taking the Max to the bus out to Estacada, where he then has to walk two miles to his house.  I wanted to ask him “WTF are you doing living in Estacada?  Why don’t you have a car?  Do you understand the meaning of a shower?  Take a good whiff of yourself.  If cigarettes had assholes, you are what that would smell like.  What kind of doctor smells like the asshole of a cigarette and gets completely baked during class?!”

Instead, I just said, “That’s rough.  I don’t envy you.” 

The train came to a stop at the transit center, and I gathered my things.  “What was your name?”  He asked.  I told him, and instantly regretted it, and decided from then on I’m going to start giving out fake names, using the first names of female singers from the 60s and 70s.  Cher, Dolly, Roberta, Joni, Janis, Gloria, Karen, Dionne, etc. 

“Well, take care,” I said.

“Do you drive?” He asked, and it was at this moment that I realized his intentions.

This malodorous son of a bitch isn’t hitting on me; he is hoping to score a ride out to redneckville.  If he thinks I’m letting him inside the Blacura so I can drive him out to the place where the banjos play freely and a deer head hangs on every wall, he has another thing coming.

“I sure do,” I said. 

“Oh, that’s nice,” he said, looking at me with bloodshot, half-open eyes. 

He started to say something else, but I was at the stairwell to the parking garage and interrupted him.  “Have a safe trip home,” I said with a smile, and bounded up the stairs.  I think he said goodbye, but I’m not certain.  I did make sure to look behind me and make sure he didn’t follow me up.

Blech. Another stellar trip home.

While I absolutely despise the PM commute, the AM commute is usually always pleasant and uneventful.  This morning I sat reading a new book, and when Max arrived to the second to last stop on my journey, I put it away and gathered my things.  I looked up towards the door and saw a very nice looking man, and we locked eyes.

It was then that I made a new resolution.  Normally when I’m out in public, I avoid eye contact, especially with men.  I don’t know if this is out of shyness, introversion, or safety, but I tend to look anywhere but directly into someone’s face unless I am at the checkout line or something similar. 

New plan: Anytime I see a good looking, age appropriate man, I plan to make eye contact.  Not like a creeper.  I don’t want to channel my inner Alex Forrest.  Rather, if I don’t see a wedding ring, or a significant other nearby, I will look him in the eyes and offer a smile. 

So as the train rolled to a stop, I stood up, walked toward the doors, looked him square in the eyes, offered my best “hey there” smile that I haven’t busted out in years, and walked off the train, feeling confident and proud that I had the nerve to do that. 

This will be a good year.  😉

Until next time ~ B


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