No longer rockin' the suburbs.
February 5, 2007 7:55 AM Subscribe
How do you react to eccentric strangers on public transportation?
posted by landedjentry to human relations (80 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a young (22), friendly-looking female who just moved from a small town to DC. I've lived in the 'burbs my entire life, done the minimum-wage job thing, and never had a problem talking with most people. I take the bus frequently, and usually I'm alone.
Sometimes someone on the bus (usually middle-aged men who look like they've seen better days) will make a general comment to all those on board, i.e. "Happy New Year, everyone!" Occasionally, someone will try to include me in their conversation, whether or not they'd been conversing previously: "Hey, you'd notice if I got a black eye, right? What're you going to school for--doctor or a lawyer?"
Usually in these circumstances I do what everyone else does (assuming they somehow know more about this than me) and ignore them. In that last example, however, I was alone, the bus was almost empty, and I really couldn't just ignore him. So I was friendly and polite, but didn't encourage the conversation and felt (and probably sounded) kind of uncomfortable.
I don't like ignoring these people. But would ignoring them ultimately be the safer option? Taking the Metro isn't an option (thanks, Georgetown), I don't have a car (and wouldn't use one in DC anyway), and more often than not it's necessary for me to take the bus alone. Any non-DC-specific advice/anecdotes/recommendations welcome, thanks.