This Chinese dude with a fold-up bike commented, "Long day?" Yeah, I replied, it was a very long day. It had been a whole week of long days, really; I've been swamped at work (I'm too busy performing to do my performance review), and to top it all off, today they saddled me with a new computer (and a new keyboard [and they took away my second monitor]), and little things are fucked up and different and annoying, and I am pathologically change-averse—I swear to God, I think I had a mild panic attack when I was told I was changing computers today and not, like, in a week or two. I didn't go into all this with this complete stranger, however, who proceeded to ask me where I worked and what I did, so I explained. He had questions, and I answered.
He asked me why I didn't just drive to Emeryville, since there was plenty of parking. Realizing he thought I was going home from work, I told him I was going to a movie in Berkeley. He asked what movie. I told him Terminator 2 and explained about the theatre showing old movies for five bucks every Thursday.
It had been a long four minutes waiting for the train, but it finally came, and we got on. As the doors closed, a Chinese girl just scraped by, out of breath. The guy asked her if she had trouble running or something, and she said she was a runner, but it was hard to run in her heels. And carrying three bags. I agreed that running with bags was difficult, having had experience.
The Chinese dude asked her where she worked. I wondered whether he asked everyone this, or just Asians.
The girl said she worked and studied; she was on her way to a Kaplan class right now. Which one, asked the guy. MCAT. I mentioned that I'd trained to teach for Kaplan. The GRE class, though. She said she was going to take the GRE as well. Was she going for an MD/PhD? No, she said, MD/MPH. Oh! Cool! As I said to her, the speakers at the medical writing conferences I went to tended to be in public health, and I found the field really interesting. We discussed it a bit.
Ashby station. People got out, and people got in. A man got in between in the three of us, and I used the opportunity to distance myself a little from the very inquisitive Chinese dude and read a bit of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which he had been keeping me from doing.
But a little distance didn't stop him! He leaned over and asked me about those movies. I said they had them every Thursday, and I thought the Landmark theatre on Piedmont did a similar thing; there were probably a lot of theatres in the area that regularly showed older movies.
He asked my name. Sunil. He was Kevin. "You seem like a really nice guy," he said. "Can I BART is loud?"
Not knowing what he said but assuming he wanted to give me his number or e-mail address or something, I just said, "Yeah." Instead, he pulled out his phone. Shit, he wanted my number. "Maybe we could chat sometime." Uh.
He punched in the 510. "510?" he asked. No, I said, 734. Where was that? Ann Arbor. Was that where I was from? No, that's where I went to grad school. I didn't change it when I moved here? Well, it would be a hassle to tell everyone. I don't know why I gave him my actual number. I could have made something up. I could have let him keep the 510. But, no, I just gave this random dude my phone number. And he'll wait three days and call me to go out to dinner and a movie.
Why couldn't he have been a cute girl?? Or, hell, a girl, period. At least then I would know girls are interested in me. It's hard to tell sometimes.