Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Urban Encounters

I've noticed a higher than usual percentage of people in the last few days who don't understand the universal "I don't want to talk to you" signals ... namely, if I am sitting on the bus or at a bus stop and I have iPod earbuds in my ears and am reading a book, I am not interested in having a conversation with random strangers. I don't mind exchanging "good morning"s or smiles, but beyond that I'd really rather read my book. And no, talking to you about what book I'm reading is not the same thing. I must have a friendly or unthreatening face or something, because I often have people approach me for directions, information, or just to have a friendly chat, even when I'm in an unfamiliar city. Two nights ago I was waiting for my bus home after work and a lady at the bus stop struck up a conversation about how it is the time of year when the buses start getting unreliable and as soon as the snow flies you won't be able to count on anything running on time and did I know what time it was because it was getting late and so on and so forth. I smiled and nodded and commiserated and checked my watch for her, all the while watching two of the three buses that service that stop pass by, exactly on time. Then my bus, the third of three, arrived (also on time) and I got on ... and realized she was still standing at the stop. So I don't know what bus she thought she was waiting for, but I don't think the unreliability of the buses was the biggest issue.

Yesterday morning on the bus the guy sitting next to me wanted to know what music I was listening to, and did I enjoy that kind of music, and he thought he should get an iPod and would I recommend them, and did I often listen to my iPod on the bus, and wasn't it getting cold, and he felt like we were the bad kids at the back of the classroom (we were sitting in the last row of seats on the bus) and on and on and on. I smiled and nodded and made non-committal "mmmmm" noises and avoided eye contact (not able to bring myself to actually be rude to someone who was just trying to be friendly), but he didn't get the hint. Sigh.

In other news, J and I did very much enjoy the production of Midsummer Night's Dream we saw last week. It was stunning visually, with lots of acrobatics and dance and vivid costuming. I have seen the play several times and studied it in university so I wasn't worried about following the story despite large chunks performed in other languages, but J wasn't familiar with the story so I was a bit worried about her. However, she said while she missed a few of the details she had no problem following what was happening, and it was kind of like going to the opera where even if you don't understand the language the picture being painted is more important. We are lucky to have such a wide variety of theatre in Ottawa (one of the reasons I chose to move here), and I'm really glad that J and I have subscribed to this series for the last two seasons. Some plays have been duds, sure, but I'm seeing a lot of very interesting theatre, and a lot of shows I wouldn't have bought tickets to on their own, but will see as part of the package.

It was a busy weekend, what with a dinner party at S&V's Friday night (very yummy Indian dishes and a cute baby to play with -- what could be better?), a performance by one of my choirs on Saturday night, and hosting the-always-a-blast girls' night on Sunday. As always, I am reminded that we have wonderful friends and are blessed to have so many people in our lives that we enjoy spending time with.

And now J and I are just in the beginning stages of planning a "girls' trip" to visit PetDoc and Noise in April. I just finished paying off the last one!!!

I know I always say this, but never a dull moment around here. And that's the way we like it.

Oh, and that music I was listening to on my iPod that I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Christmas music. I have a sickness.


Kiy said...

Oh, but see, your Thanksgiving is earlier so you CAN listen to Christmas music now. That's my rule of thumb, day after T'giving, the music comes out. Hmmm, maybe we should use the Canadian calendar here? :)

And yes, I am seeing more of the folks who don't understand the 'go away, far away' subtle signs too. I wonder if subtle is going by the wayside. Darn.


PetDoc said...

Yay, girls trip to London!! Yay, Christmas music!