Scene: me, waiting at the bus stop, downtown Victoria. (as usual)
Mentally disabled man stands beside me, starts talking.
Me: (taking earbuds out of my ears) Pardon me?
Guy: What your name?
Me: Nova. What’s your name?
Guy, AKA Richard: (extends hand out, as though we were going to shake)
Me: (Does the same to be polite.)
Richard: (Does crazy secret hand-shake kind of thing, complete with fist pounds and some kind of thumb thing with jazz fingers.)
Me: (Tries to keep up with crazy hand-shake.)
Richard: (Goes in for the hug)
Me: (Realizes he has a lot of dried ketchup on the corners of his mouth and on his white shirt.)
Richard: You’re a nice lady.
Richard: (Stands there staring for an awkwardly long time staring at me.)
Me: So…did you have a good day today?
Richard: Yeah. (Rolls eyes as though it was a totally lame question.)
Me: Me too.
Richard: What bus you on?
Me: The thirty*.
Richard: Me, twenty eight.
Richard: My bus is coming. (points)
Me: Oh, yeah, there it is. Cool.
Richard: See you later. (Even more elaborate hand-shake, followed by hug.)
Me: (Leaning way back, stiff one-arm hug, trying not to encourage any more physical contact) Yup, bye.
Richard: Cute glasses.
Me: Okay. Bye! (Note to self: Never wear glasses at the bus stop again.)
—–later, on my walk home—–
Seeing a bunch of ‘free stuff’ left over from a garage sale, including books, I wander over to some guy’s yard. He’s kneeling on the curb, scrubbing it with an old shirt.
“I left a few cans of paint out here and look what they did.”
I look…yep, definitely a mess. I wonder who “they” is.
“Hm, that sucks. Hey, is that a full set of encyclopedias?”
Two minutes later I’m on the phone with Ryan asking him to come pick me and 26 books up.