I load the bus as usual: a nervous scramble to find the first available seat while trying to avoid locking stares with the various eyes looking in my direction. I find a seat at the front of the bus, cross my legs, get out my book and begin to read. I hear an “excuse me, excuse me…” but I pay no attention to it. There are so many people on this bus and I don’t recognize the voice so he can't possibly be talking to me…
“Hello there – hey you!” Ok, well now I glance. And sure enough a dirty, bald, obviously homeless man with missing teeth is staring right at me. He smiles his barren grin. I give him a polite yet uninviting smile – the kind where you smile with just your lips, not revealing your complete set of pearly whites – and quickly get back to my book.
“You’re awfully pretty…”
“Thanks.” I reply, not looking up from my book.
He obviously isn't getting the attention he wants. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him scoot to a seat closer to me. Now, I’m getting nervous. Please just leave me alone!
And then he starts reaching toward me. And before I know it, he’s tapping on my foot. His big, long finger nailed, greasy, muddy hand is tap tap tapping my foot! I try to ignore it. But he just keeps tapping, harder now. I finally look up at him. He winks at me and says “I like your shoes.”
I close my book and get off at the next stop. Thanks, but I’d rather walk.
(On a side note, this isn't the first time I've been approached by the homeless. On a separate occasion I was asked "Hey, ever made out with a homeless guy before?" and generously given the opportunity to do so. I graciously declined.)