By the time I realized I hadn’t said anything, it was too late.

He’d already made a number of stops, turns, blinker-on-off and I realized neither of us did the Hot today, huh? or Busy downtown today or You live downtown? Of course, as soon as I realized, the air was cut with my own self-awareness and what then became a small, silent, sit-in.

But this guy and I had history. Only about two hours old, but still. After I’d parked the car in the service dock and had stood, waiting, trying to look expectantfriendlyalittleimpatient he came over with his clipboard, stopped in front of me, and bowed.

I was taken aback, befuddled, and not a little insulted. Really, dude? You’re gonna bow at me? You’re not asian, but I am, so I get a bow?

Okay, maybe it’s possible he bows at everyone. But I doubt it.

I think my face registered a combination of a lot of things and probably landed on a general What the Fuck expression.

But I’m trying to be more forgiving. I often, often fail. Part of me itches for a combative situation, always has. The blue collar, looking-for-a-fight itch. It exists mostly in fantasy. From the time I was a kid, I imagined scenarios where I balled up my fists in defense of friends, family, victimized strangers.

I have no idea how to fight.

So in the shuttle, in silence, I thought – of course this guy has a story and it’s complicated and maybe he’s done so many things that I would respect and maybe he’s a hero to his family and maybe he thought bowing to me would be charming.

But it wasn’t and I didn’t ask him about his family and we both chose not to say a single word during the entire ride. Which was, of course, fine.

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