On Unruly Bus Passengers And Social Skills

Sometimes, things happen that leave one shaking his head. They also kind of dove-tail with some of the thoughts I’d had regarding my own social skills, which admittedly may or may not be where I’d like them to be.
The relatively empty bus rattles toward the transportation center. I have my headset on, listening to the latest news as usual. A passenger boards approximately a stop before the station, but at a point where some highway still separates us from that final location.
“Hey!” I hear him say: “don’t you do…?”
I kind of lose track of what he is asking the driver, but I know at first he was inquiring about which bus left for the airport and at what time. Then he says he’d need to take the driver’s number, because apparently the driver provides some service that he was desperately seeking. I think that driver expressed reluctance to divulge his digits.
“Ah alright, man,” he said: “I’ll just give you my number!”
I put exclamation points, because everything this guy said is indeed very loud. It doesn’t take long for me to develop a headache and long for that bus to hurry up and let me off!
I transfer. Ah, I’m free of that, right? Wrong!
Not long after hopping onto the second bus, the skies open up and thunder booms overhead. We ease away from the station, this time with a woman at the wheel.
“Hey!” someone yells.
And again, I lose track of his thoughts as he thunders on and on.
“I can’t really even hear you!” the driver says over the din of the downpour.
And if that isn’t the same guy as before, then it’s incredibly ironic.
When I do manage to re-connect with the conversation, he is asking “but you’re not allowed to give out your number, right?”
“Right,” she says.
“Ok, well I’ll give you mine when I get off. … Ok?”
“Ok,” she replies.
Woo, I think to myself; perhaps that’s finally over.
“You know, your husband is really lucky,” he pipes up again.
Sigh. I have no idea what kind of state this guy is in, but maybe he was trying to figure out a way to talk to people. It probably bordered on, if not actually being, harassment.
While that’s a particularly brazen example of how not to socialize with others, I can’t entirely say I’ve been all that good at it either.
Back in my younger days, I pretty much thought that every time I met a woman, I should try and get her number or find some other way to ensure that a connection was established. I wasn’t doing this for malicious reasons, but because I thought it was the only way I could have a chance of finding where and with whom I might be able to build a relationship.
Needless to say behaving in this manner can create sticky situations, and especially for one who is blind and can’t see her husband, standing right there. Yes, I’ve done that once. That incident finally showed me why just taking that sort of blanket approach was a bad idea.
So during this phase of my social development, I’ve pretty much gone to the other extreme. I really don’t try to connect with anyone, but instead I just keep working on my conversation skills. I do know that it takes more than a couple of minutes to really know if you want to continue talking to a person. I guess my difficulty now is that I feel that I’ve missed some good opportunities out of an abundance of caution. And of course, it would be nice just to have someone with whom to hang out. But all in time. I certainly don’t think it’s ever! Acceptable to make people feel uncomfortable in order to get something I want, and feel badly for the, hopefully, few times I’ve done that.

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