April 18th, 2008



There's been Mrs. Chattychatchat, who'd fit an entire evening worth of talking in a five minute ride -- and repeated the feat on a separate occasion where I picked her up again, not having recognized her... until she started talking.

There's been Dark Clothed Youngster, picked up after sundown, who seemed very intent on informing me that, "You know, you shouldn't be picking up people like me at night," and after a brief, loaded silence, "...Know what I mean?" (Somehow I came out of the encounter alive.)

And I now present you, ladies and gentlemen, my esteemed readership, Mr. Vacant Flat Upstairs.

Mr. Vacant Flat Upstairs is waiting by the side of the road, thumb half-assedly up; and since the sun has this time not yet set on the Land of Non-Standard Hitchhikers, I pull up.

In an instant, his expression goes from 'nothing' to 'eyebrows arched all the way up, mouth rounding in absolute delight.' Best. Moment. In. His. Life.

He gets into my car and begins to shake my hand. And then keeps shaking my hand. ... After about ten seconds, I gently pull it back, on account that I kind of need it to shift gears. And he begins to talk.

Well. Talk.

The words come out jumbled through the huge toothy grin. Wudda melm dah letta uh meffeh woman. Well. Err. Oh, I see, good sir, at first you took me for a woman due to my long hair. Ah ah ah. Makes sense. Long hair. Woman. Ah.

The grin broadens even more, and at this point I shamefully admit I'm growing more than a little nervous. He launches into a merry, disjointed discourse that ends with the word 'grey' and his running a finger through the dust on my dashboard.

"Oh, grey?" I repeat, faking interest while mentally calculating my chances of survival should I have to jump out the window unprepared.

He patiently provides further explanation.

Oh, err, why, yes, I say. Absolutely, good sir. I should have chosen a grey dashboard rather than a black one, so the dust wouldn't show. Ah ah. A grey dashboard. He wags a finger at me. How didn't I think of it, silly me? Apparently brown and white would have worked as well: just not black. But there you have it: my dashboard is black and so the dust shows.

But no matter. I am kindly informed that I'll have time to clean it tomorrow: he doesn't work tomorrow because it's Sunday, and so I'll have time to clean it. Because he doesn't work. Tomorrow.

And then he points at the clock on the dashboard and goes, wahl fesbel wemma nah two years? And the scary thing is, somehow, by then, I'm starting to make sense of it. Err, no, good sir, the car's way more than two years old (and what my dashboard clock has to do with it will remain obscure to the end of my life). Oh, yes, so it's an old car, but it works fine so I'm not complaining. It's a second hand car. So I unfortunately had no say 'bout that dashboard. Which is not grey. Y'know what I mean.

And then I drop him near his intended destination, and he spends another ten seconds shaking my hand with a flow of nearly-words of thanks and pure delight.

In retrospect, it was like that feeling you get when a dementedly cheerful puppy from one of those giant breeds comes lumbering at you and the owner says, "Don't worry, he only wants to play!"

You know.

Balancing between charmed and mildly terrified.

... I like puppies.