I befriended a Kitchen Worker from my office at a bus stop one day. We talked about how snowy and cold it was. Then we talked about how the bus might never come. Then we talked about how snowy it was again. Kitchen Worker said, "It's supposed to do this all through the night and on into the morning. Now, tomorrow, that's gonna be some snow."
I couldn't argue with that. It would, in fact, be some snow.
There was another man at the bus stop. He kept moving closer and closer to me, which I could have understood were we trying to preserve our body heat, but times hadn't gotten that desperate yet. Uncomfortable Close was watching the slow and cautious traffic. He said, "You know, it would only take one of these cars to cause an accident that would jam up the entire road."
I couldn't argue with that either. It is generally one car that causes accidents, then leading to traffic jams.
I came to the conclusion that when stuck with strangers (in the type of situation where nobody actually wants to be there, but there's no choice about it), people tend to make unarguable, true statements.
I, on the other hand, say little.
Kitchen Worker and I finally boarded the bus after waiting roughly 37 minutes. He let me in on a little secret that they were going to serve cake the next day. Sure enough, there was cake. And with that cake, an acquaintance was born.
He says hello to me in the cafeteria now."Where you been? I been askin about you? Have you been eating?"I imagine that when he was asking about me, he actually only mumbled something to himself around some other people about "that girl from the bus."
Today I went into the cafeteria to get some soup. Kitchen Worker was getting some soup as well.
"Mmm-mmm," he said. "The chef really outdone himself with this soup."
"Yeah," I said, "I'm pretty excited about it."
"Where you been lately? I haven't seen you at the bus stop? Your boyfriend been giving you a ride?"
I am completely unsure what his intentions were in requesting that information. Generally when people slide in the query of the existence of a significant other, they are looking to see if there is a vacant position and if I am currently accepting applications. I told him that I was carpooling with a co-worker lately (which is untrue).
"Oh," he said. "You married then? Have kids?"
I nervously laughed. How awkward.
"No," I said. "Not married. No kids, thank God."
Repeated nervous laughter and told him to have a good day. Fled the scene.
Maybe I'm overreacting and he was just being nice and asking me about my life. Maybe he really wanted to know where his bus-buddy went.
But that's not what I assume. And it's my assumptions that keep me feeling awkward and dreading the cafeteria tomorrow.