How do they find me?

At first I thought he took the seat next to me just because the shuttle was filling up.

I failed to clue in when he seized upon the title of the text I was (ahem) trying to read, and spoke it aloud, as a conversation opener. I can imagine this ploy being successful with, say, Lady Chatterley’s Lover or Naughty Night Nurses, but it is notably less so when the text in question is a guide to archaeological laboratory methods.

Because it had not occurred to me that such a flailing manner could be an attempt at flirting, and also because I thought I might actually know him from somewhere, I did not implement my usual scorched-earth policy for overtures like this.

But the path to Geekville (and don’t get me wrong — I’m on the Chamber of Commerce) is steep and slippery. Via a convoluted but stunningly fast conversational path of constantly accelerating geekiness, he launched excitedly into a comparison of the leading characters in A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and seemed to think I was equally enthusiastic. The build-up to this engaging subject involved his identifying me as “a Douglas Adams girl”, and I am still startled at how much I resent the “girl” bit, much less the assumption that Adams’ least sophisticated writing is the sum total of his work. (Like I said, Chamber of Commerce.)

My witty riposte: “I am, Um, umm, um, no longer conversant with the text”?

This sounds harmless, and I would agree that it almost certainly was, except for the decidedly stalker-y tone that developed, or, more to the point, the tone that I noticed once I was paying attention. Within ninety seconds of sitting down, he asked if I took that shuttle every Tuesday and Thursday, and if not, when did I? Minutes later, he tried to get my email address. Not long into the ride, he announced confidently, “Well, at least you’re done for the day!”

Since it was early in the day and the shuttle runs between two campuses (campi?), that entirely correct statement suggests an inappropriate level of knowledge about my schedule. Taken in context with the many, many small remarks betraying familiarity with my habits and schedule, this encounter left me with what personal defense specialists technically define as “the creeps.”

Gosh, I’ve got to get back to my reading. And please stop touching my coat.

The irony: on the morning shuttle, I had cut short a conversation with a sweet and attractive classmate because I had to finish reading for my morning class. When you deny the gifts offered by fate, fate picks you up by the hair, dangles you before her face, and laughs and laughs.