Thwip! - John C. Kirk
Jun. 7th, 2002
11:38 pm - Thwip!
Well, Spider-Man has now been released, so I'm going to go off to see that at our local cinema tomorrow evening. I'm really looking forward to it! Main question is, do I have the nerve to go in costume? Probably not, particularly if I want any of my flatmates to go with me...
Aside from that, not much to report. Work's going ok - the guy who'll be taking over from me has now arrived, so I'm starting to train him up as part of the handover process. Then I'm doing revision for exams - shouldn't be any major obstacles there.
So, in the absence of "new news", another anecdote! I've had pretty good feedback on these so far, so I'll keep them coming when I have time to write them... Today's story - the time I got propositioned at a bus stop.
This all happened about 3 years ago, so that's after I started my job in Highgate, but before I got the motorbike. One evening I was waiting for the bus home, and there was an old man (well, old-ish, maybe 50) waiting there too. The buses tended to be a bit unreliable (some days I'd wait for an hour), and he made some comment along these lines ("it's a disgrace, isn't it") which I agreed with. After that, he made some small talk, so I tried to be polite by replying. He then asked "What's that smell?" Obviously I didn't know (what with the anosmia and all...), but he said it smelled like drugs or something similar, and asked whether it was coming from my bag. I was pretty sure that it wasn't, and said so. He then asked whether it was my aftershave, and I said "No, I'm not wearing any" (I never do). In the end, it turned out that the shop next to the bus stop sells Chinese herbal remedies, so the smell was probably coming from there. He then started asking about whether I lived in Highgate, so I told him that I worked there as a computer programmer. He made a comment like "Oh, that pays well - you must be rich! I'll be your friend now!" I smiled, but basically said "Yeah, I wish I was rich, but I'm not" He kept making comments like "Oh come on, you can't fool me, we're going to be best friends now". I kept smiling, but thought to myself "Yes, it was mildly amusing at first, but you can stop now". He then asked me if I wanted to go out for a drink. Since I'd recently had my eye surgery, this gave me an excuse to say no, as I was supposed to avoid smoky environments. He then suggested that we could go back to his place instead. At this point I thought:
a) This is the type of situation that could be dangerous. I'm sure it's not, but with my luck (e.g. the woman who threatened to stab me), I'd best be cautious.
b) I don't have any burning desire to go for a drink with him anyway.
So I declined. He then asked me whether I was gay, which came as a bit of a surprise, since I'm not very good at picking up on subtle hints. I said no, and he said "Oh, you should be - you're very beautiful, you know". Okay. I said thank you, but I wasn't quite sure how to react. He said that he hoped he hadn't offended me, and I said it was fine, but he then kept asking whether I was sure, or whether I wanted to change my mind ("you never know until you try, you might like it"). I reiterated that I was quite sure. While I wasn't offended at first, I wasn't overjoyed that he kept on about it when I'd said no. He then wanted me to write down his name and phone number in case I changed my mind, so I agreed to that to get rid of him, although that may not have been the smartest move. Anyway, the bus arrived shortly afterwards, which I was glad about, so I let him get on first, then sat on the other deck.
Since then, I've been informed that the "Is that smell your aftershave?" question is a standard pick-up line, so I inadvertently deflected that quite nicely :)
I think I must have gone swimming in a chaos stream when I was younger ... (In the Supergirl comic, the idea is that chaos streams are off-shoots from the river Styx, and explain why so much weird stuff happens in a quiet town when she turns up.) Mind you, it probably didn't help to have William hexing me; apparently, round about the time that this was happening, he was sitting on the tube thinking "Hmm, John hasn't done anything weird lately"! Still, on the plus side, I think this gave me some insight into what it must be like for women when they get blokes making unwanted advances, so hopefully it has made me more sensitive to that since then.