I know nothing about cars. So when I took it in to the car guy I’ve been using out here and said it was making a “RRRRRR” sound miming noises and told him it “felt weird,” he looked at me like I had lost my mind. Needless to say, I got a phone call later that day saying it was in a world of problems, and I needed to find a new way around rather than drive that “deathtrap.”
I cleaned it out, sadder than I should be about giving up a car, and some of my freedom, and took a few pictures to post on the internet, waiting for complete strangers to start contacting me with questions I likely would not know the answer to.
I was shocked at how quickly I was flooded with responses, took the first one, and the guy said he would come to check it out. I suddenly was hit with thoughts of the Craigslist killer and the possibility of handing a stranger the keys to my car and him driving it off while I wait on the street corner like a schmuck.
I contacted a few friends to act as backup, all of which were further away than I needed them to be or else in a bar watching the Seahawks game.
I am frequently crippled with anxiety about simple things and get antsy and nervous overthinking outcomes, but when I walked to meet the strangers two blocks away (as I had strategically parked my car so no one would watch me walk out of my apartment and know where to come murder me at a later date), I had convinced myself that my murder chances were high, and I felt pure, genuine fear course through my veins.
As I’m sure you’ve figured out, I didn’t get killed and it was relatively straightforward, with the man leaving his 13 year old son with me while he took the car for a test run. I wondered why he was so quick to leave his child with me as leverage. Why was I so quickly ruled out as a possible killer? I thought of asking the kid to hide around the corner to teach his dad a lesson about leaving his kid with strangers, but I still hadn’t ruled out my imminent death, so I waited in fear until he showed back up and handed me a wad of cash and drove away.
And just like that I became a bus rider. I bought an employee bus pass that lasts through March, and even though it takes longer than I would like to get places and it is never on time, I get a lot of reading done, so it isn’t all bad.
Though I feel I have been stripped of a lot of freedom, I also have found that some of the best people watching in Seattle happens on the buses.
I was wallowing in self pity, feeling sorry for wherever my half dead “deathtrap” had ended up, while I was waiting for the bus on a dark and rainy night after work. I watched as a girl dressed head to toe in black with pink hair and what looked like a pair of used socks converted into gloves started ogling a short man in a fedora with a red feather.
Goth Girl was all giggles, asking him where he was going, twisting her greasy hair around her finger, shamelessly making directional small talk with the man. I was so confused by the attraction, I found myself blatantly staring. The short guy was acting like he was super cool and then started ignoring her, which only made her try harder to flirt with him.
I glanced at him, and I didn’t understand what the appeal was. Aside from instantly coming across as being full of himself, he was also about 6 inches shorter than her and sporting a fedora with a feather. I wondered if she was blinded by the fedora and that was causing her to not be able to see the man underneath it.
I wanted to pull her aside and say, “I’m confident you can do better than him.” It would have been the nice “women looking out for each other” thing to do. But then I’d lose my entertainment for the ride home, so I stayed the creeper watching the sitcom unravel in front of me.
I boarded the bus first and took a seat toward the back, where I usually sit and read and/or watch whoever I feel will be entertaining for the 30 minute commute. Goth Girl tried so hard to get him to sit with her. He said he needed to sit in the back with his friend, and I glanced up at him as he walked straight to the seat behind me.
I wondered what the appeal was? Did a fedora really have that much power? What was his charm over her. He seemed like a short dude with Napoleon complex to me. So I cracked open my book and started to read, assuming the best was over.
That’s when I started hearing snippets of his conversation, and was caught off guard when I heard, “it’s a vegan vampire co-op. The vampires drink your blood and then give you vegan food in return.”
I threw all bus protocol to the wind and turned around glaring to try and see if this guy was joking or if he actually believed this existed. Because it is Seattle, I couldn’t be sure if it was a story or if this was something that he actually thought was “real.” He glanced at me with his dark eyes and pasty face and smiled underneath the fedora.
I whipped back around, realizing that candidly staring at him to determine his crazy factor wasn’t my smartest move. So I opened my book, thinking he certainly put a lot of effort into looking like a vampire. I looked as I saw the Goth girl longingly looking back at him from her side-facing seat. How was this guy a catch? I didn’t understand the appeal. Did he believe in vampires? Did he think he was a vampire? Was he recreationally drinking the blood of other humans? Did he put this girl in a trance to fall in love with him?
I read my book the rest of the ride home ignoring their conversation…is how this story should end. But it ends with me pulling a classic Carly move and fake reading my book, even turning a page every now and then to make it more believable and eavesdropping on the entire 30 minute conversation he had with his friend about what kills vampires and why people are liars when they say they can’t wear silver. He laughed out loud, scoffing about how people thought they could be killed by anything other than a stake to the heart as if that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. And a vegan vampire co-op was completely realistic. Spare me.
His friend seemed to be entranced with him as well. I was so confused by the whole thing. I guess that’s why it’s weird that he got off of the bus with me and we started talking and now he is my boyfriend…totally kidding. I’d rather stake myself in the heart.
I got off of the bus praying he didn’t live in Wallingford and that I would never have to see him or that fedora again. I sighed in relief to get out into the rain and walked home, missing my solo car commute, but thinking that nothing this entertaining ever happened on my drive home.