I thought it was only lytteltonwitch who attracts weird people, but it seems to be rubbing off on me.
Last night I was in town for my ESOL class (which was really interesting – among other things we talked about cultural differences and culture shock, and had a talk from a Chinese woman who emigrated to NZ eight years ago), and managed to miss my bus to come home, so had an hour to wait until the next one. There was a bus just leaving for Riccarton, though, so I decided to get on that and catch the Orbiter at Riccarton mall.
Technically, the Orbiter is supposed to run every 15 minutes in the evening, but when I got to Riccarton the display was showing 23 minutes until the next one. So I settled down with my book to wait. There were a few odd looking people around, but the bus shelters are well lit and it’s a busy road, so I wasn’t worried about sitting there on my own… until one of the weird people, a very large and obviously drunk man, decided to sit down next to me and start a conversation. I never know what to do in that situation – do I ignore him, and risk that he’ll be offended and get agressive, or do I respond, and never get rid of him? I decided talking to him was probably safer, but regretted it when he started pouring out all his troubles to me.
He told me he was depressed because his mother and sister had gone to Australia for his brother’s wedding, but he couldn’t go because he’d messed his life up (to which I’m thinking “on parole and not allowed to leave the country?”), and how sad his life is, and his father died recently… and I’m trying to be sympathetic in the most non-committal way I can, especially because he’s started calling me “love” and saying how nice I am to listen to him.
He actually seemed pretty harmless, just drunk and lonely, but when he started asking questions about where I lived (which of course I didn’t answer!) and what bus I was taking, and then said “you know I’d never hurt you, love”, I decided I’d better put a safety plan in place just in case. So I pretended I thought I’d heard my phone ring and excused myself to walk out of earshot and “answer” it. Actually I rang MrPloppy and asked him to meet me at the bus stop I’d be getting off at. It’s a reasonably long walk down a dark street from the Orbiter stop to our place, and just in case my new friend decided to follow me home I didn’t want to be walking along it on my own!
To my relief, when my bus finally arrived he didn’t get on it, but it was still very nice to see MrPloppy waiting at the bus stop for me. My hero!
Only one more day until we go to Wellington! Wombles is arriving tonight, and lytteltonwitch will be picking her up from the airport and staying here the night as well, so we can be off bright and early for Picton in the morning.
I still haven’t finished packing, of course…