I haven't been out on our regular walks with my aunt very often recently, in part because my knees have been yelling at me, and in part because of schedule woe. This has taken a toll on my endurance, and put that together with my knees, and you have the setup for Wednesday night's after-festivities festivities.
I walked back to the BART station at a pace slightly faster than an arthritic snail. By the time I got there, my legs were letting me know in no uncertain terms that they did not approve of these shenanigans, and they approved even less after I descended the stairs to the station. I assured the attendant that I was not traveling to the East Bay, which was good as the last East Bay train was pulling into the station right then, and people flew past me to get to it, and the attendant asked the conductor to hold it until they could get there.
Naturally, the elevator down to the train level is at the far end of the station. Naturally, by the time I got to the far end of the station, my legs and knees both were telling me that really, I should have driven. (I ignored them.) Or at least I should have brought my umbrella. (I conceded the point, but it would have been too much to juggle with the fruit tart and all and all.) Naturally, by the time I got close enough to the elevator to read the notice on it, my legs were completely pissed off and not about to walk all the way to the other end of the station to request that the attendant grant access to the elevator, and then walk all the damned way back. Elevator be damned. I took the stairs down, cursing under my breath the whole way.
I calculated that I would likely be in less pain standing than making my way down to the end of the station with the low fucking benches, and stood waiting for my train. It was 12:23 AM by this time.
Some guy came up at approximately this juncture, inquiring about something or other. I was not in a state to encode social responses below a certain level, and said nothing. (Close to my height, on the thin side of average, dressed in a style that screamed "young lout" when worn past the age of 25-30, which he was likely past, not physically intimidating to me, clean.) He then inquired whether there were still trains to the East Bay. Even though he would have been told this critical detail by the station attendant, this answer was simple enough and fell under the basic Laws of Transit Humanity. "No," I said, then returned to staring at my cellphone.
"I didn't catch your name," he continued, and started asking other questions (irrelevant to any possible business of his other than chatting me up). I tuned him out.
"FUCK YOU!" he burst out, along with other items in this vein, and stamped off down the platform, perhaps to join the woman who was complaining that green was the color of the absence of the knowledge of Christ and that these people didn't know what it means and therefore shouldn't be using it.
The train came. I noticed that he had come back for his things, which he'd left on the platform nearby. I got on the train and sat down in a convenient seat close to the exit; at that point I figured that a) I qualified as elderly/disabled, b) there were like 5 people in the car, and c) I wasn't going to mess with the carton of abandoned Chinese takeout on the seat across from it.
The fellow boarded the train after me. He snagged the aforementioned abandoned carton of takeout and sat down next to me, despite a) his apparent perfect ablebodiedness, and b) the plethora of other seats on the train, including c) the ones he'd snagged the container from.
I sat trying to minimize any unnecessary physical contact with him. He sat, chowing down on someone else's abandoned supper. (Yes, on BART.) I became aware that in addition to the pleasantly spicy smell from the unlawful snack, there was a certain miasma, as of a small and localized brewery. But I held my peace and found something very fascinating to look at in the other direction.
He spoke up just then, in confident but not entirely intelligible tones. The brewery scent only intensified. I managed to distinguish that he was able to discern some form of beauty or potential beauty about my person, and that he would, when I was 36 or 37 and he was 46 or 47, still respect me completely.
I decided that it was time to find a new seat.
Bereft of his unwilling seating partner, he and his things wandered up the train into the next car. I watched him go, and watched carefully against his return.
When disembarking the train, I stood on the platform in one spot until the train departed, lest I walk past his car and give him any inspiration to get off before his intended stop. (Had he, I would have paid a visit to the station attendant and requested an escort to my car, or at least some form of escort for him, and/or ensuring that he did not accompany me.
Happily, he did not follow, and the train left with him on it. I made my painful way to the car, rather relieved, and with the classic Vulcan joke echoing in my head:
"But will you still respect me seven years from now?"