The evening ended and I actually was pretty okay to drive even after bottles of wine, beer and bourbon. Well, maybe not on a freeway for 18 miles. Regardless, I purposely left my car at home and took the train to work that day. It was 12:30 in the morning and I texted Jimmy who offered me a ride. I didn't want him to go across town just grab me, so I looked up bus routes. I found the 4 which was 2 blocks away from where I was and would drop me off near Echo Park Lake. "It's okay, I want to test out taking the bus baby." I responded. Jimmy didn't argue - he knew I would push back because I wanted to have an adventure any way. And he was absorbed in his fashion shows on youtube.
I wanted to see who rode the bus late into the night and how "doable" this was. An experiment by a white collar worker pretending to be a part of a community that has less of a choice in life. It's like ART. Anyway, I was alone on the street and the bus arrived after waiting for 10 minutes. I had credit left over from a day pass that I wanted to use which was also a part of my justification to do this. Surprisingly, there were a lot of people. Folks from parties, going home after a long work day, just finishing an errand. Lots of different types of people were taking the 4 line at this hour.
|1 hour and 8 minutes to bus across town|
The bus drove down Santa Monica Blvd. Through the rich and poor neighborhoods and through West Hollywood. I fell a sleep and woke up a little groggy in a dodgy part of the iconic street when suddenly an middle aged man sat in the empty seat next to me.
He put out his hand and said, "hello." He was balding, overweight and ghostly paul. I stared at his hand and paused for the longest time as if I was about to make a large life decision and needed more time to process what was happening. I shook his hand awkwardly. "Hiiii..." I dragged out my response in suspicious. His hand was dry and puffy. Was this guy going to shank me? I was carrying my Nikon J1 that Jimmy bought for me. Is that what he wanted?
"Do you want to come with me on the next stop?" His English was mildly broken and I realized what was going on. I was being propositioned for sex. He must have assumed that I was a WeHo party boy, drugged up from clubbing and drunk-horny-desperate as if I was recently rejected by the person I was hitting on. The switch in my mind flipped and I got scared.
Like a child my response was timidly direct. "No. I'm going home." And I looked away as if I had been shamed.
"Hey! I'm just asking!" He raised both hands and got up from the bench. The bus doors open and he stepped out waving thank you to the bus driver. His escape route was so planned. The moment that was awkward was short and he was on his way to where ever. I was only 2 miles away from my stop.
Jimmy picked me up while I was walking in the direction of my house along the lake. He was just about ready to go for his 2AM gym run. It was perfectly planned.