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Tram Random 2

Today’s encounter started when I decided to wear dirty black leggings with a hot pink dress and hotter pink bovver boots, a hottest pink trim military jacket with tiny, incinerating pink studs. In addition to none of my pinks being exactly the same shade, my make-up was what you would expect from a girl who learned to ‘put her face on’ from drag queens, right down to the inch and a half diamante eyelashes. I like to style on theme, and I was going for the overall look of a prancing but butch warden in a very camp prison; trust me, I got there.

I then made the decision to have a fag before leaving for the tram, which in turn forced me to run along the platform to get to the tram just before the doors stopped beeping. My door didn’t open, I moved towards the other door, and it closed. I caught the eye of the driver in the mirror, I made the begging gesture and smiled like an adorable child. Neither door opened. I bellowed “YOU’VE GOT TO BE FUCKING JOKING!”, and this is when she first noticed me.

Now, you may be one of these admirable, zen loving stoics who can smile at the hilarity of the fact that your tram seat is eight inches away and you aren’t sitting on it, but I’m not. I had a good old, blue as Smurf balls rant.

I know there are others who have done the same in a similar situation, I’ve seen one of you in action and you were brilliant.  {If you’re a 50something  Scottish man with an excellent suit and two laptops who missed a train by four seconds from Edinburgh in Jan12 and booted off into a high volume, articulate rant that made Bills Hicks sets sound like meditative chants, please Tweet me obscenities; you’re fucking funny.}

People who understand the need to angry rant in these situations will also recognise that you’re usually left on the platform/at the bus stop alone, or with other people who sympathise with your point of view. Normally the successful passengers, who saw your rage from the right side of the door glass, disappear into the distance mumbling “what a wanker” to each other.

On this occasion, the driver cut me off mid rant by opening the nearest door. I then made the choice to compound my on board image as “wanker” by half stepping into the tram and then leaning back out the door to shout “You could have just done that in the first place”.

I knew people were looking at me as I took my seat. I addressed everyone with an apologetic shrug and said “kicking off apparently works”. Nobody looked directly at me.

The woman I sat next to had been looking at me since I’d first shouted. I turned to see her staring at me, with wide open eyed fear. Her arms covered every part of her body and she had her back as far into the corner as she could without risking her knee touching mine.

She watched as I readjusted my glittery beehive and kept her eye on me as I sat back in my seat. I gave her a big smile that I hoped would reassure her. The tram was pulling out of the next stop when she leaned a little bit closer, and just slightly louder than whispered: “I like your eyelashes”.

We had an enjoyable, girly, shoe related chat, and she got off a stop before me. As the doors closed behind her, she gave me a little wave and a tiny smile, whilst slightly shaking her head.

Tram Random 1

I got talking to a girl yesterday, and somehow the conversation turned to Science Fiction. Here’s a little bit of the chat transcribed.  I’ll circumvent the early introductions, because I start talking to random people a lot, and the beginning bit is the boring bit.

Me: “… yeah, it’s a great book. You’ll probably like it.” [Marge Piercy’s ‘He, She and It’.]

Her: “Not if it’s about Science Fiction. I don’t like Science Fiction.”

Me: “Well… it’s not about Science Fiction… It’s a love story, it’s just that there’s also a robot. But it’s not just the science… or the fiction… no, hang on. Erm… it’s just a really good story.”

Her: “Why does there have to be a robot? That’s what I mean. Why?”

Me: “It’s set in the future, but… Why does there have to NOT be a robot?” [I display the smug face that I wear when I’ve convinced myself that I’ve made a great point.]

Her: [She looks at me blankly. Then her face shifts as the realisation dawns that she is at the tram stop, late at night, talking to a strange woman about robots. She has a little look around and then shrugs while searching my eyes for any further, undetected madness.] “Each to their own, I suppose.” [She picks up her glossy mag, I stare at the tramlines; our meeting ends].

When I chat to randoms, I respect the clear social indications that the other person has had enough of the conversation. I believe it’s what separates me from the drunks and mad people who also enjoy striking up dialogue with strangers in public places. On this occasion, and some others, I have wanted to push the conversation, having become genuinely interested in a stranger’s opinion.

How could someone dismiss something on the grounds that it’s ‘Science Fiction’? What do they think this ‘Science Fiction’ is? The girl was a 2nd year biology student and was reading a celebrity magazine; clearly a fan of both science and fiction, but not of Science Fiction.

We both got on the Eccles bound tram and just after she sat down, she looked up and I smiled at her. She gave me the mouth flatline and raised her magazine slightly. She got off before my stop, and as she walked past the window, from the safety of the other side of the glass, she gave me a smile and a nod.

Two complete strangers meet at a mass transport intersection, and travel across the surface of a solar orbital in a metal pod. They have a tiny human moment. One of them recounts the moment into her palm top communication device and projects the message into cyberspace.

It’s the story that counts, not the genre.