The Golden Rule

Rule # 1: Do Not Speak to Strangers.

The first time I rode the bus in Milwaukee, I still very much had my New York mentality. I did not engage in conversation with unknown people let alone make eye contact with them. However, as I became familiarized with the area and the Midwestern way of life, I warmed up a little and even made some “bus buddies.” Well, my last train ride was a nice reminder of the golden rule: Do Not Speak to Strangers.
I was on the train to meet my mom in the city and about 5 stops in, a man walks on and sits down next to me. I got bored and pulled out my notebook to write but only managed to get 5 words down when the man chimes in “You have really beautiful handwriting.” I nodded and said thanks very monotonously thinking that would be the end of our conversation.
Boy, was I wrong.
“I noticed the way you hold the pen, very interesting. I am a lefty”
At this I nodded again, “That is cool.”
“Do you like writing?”
“Yeah, I do”
“Are you a student”
“Yes, I go to school in Wisconsin.” (WHY DID I TELL HIM THAT?!)
I close my notebook and put it back in my bag. “You know, sometimes I look in the train window when I want to watch people instead of just staring at them, LIKE THIS” he turns and stares very uncomfortably at me. I started to awkwardly laugh and exchanged a look with a girl sitting across from me who I could tell felt bad that this weirdo was harassing me. “I started doing that in 2011.”
The girl across from me gets off the train.
“Was that your sister?”
“She’s not part of your crowd?”
“Interesting, I thought she was.”
We sat there in silence. A man standing in front of me then looks down and says “You need some Chapstick” So what am I meant to do now? Pull out my Chapstick and have two creepy men watch me moisturize my lips? No thanks.
The train stops and an announcement is made. “It’s going express” he tells me. “See ya around” and gets off.
The man next to me breaks our silence. “You’ll never see him around” I nod. “Yeah, probably not” At this point he notices my nose ring and starts to tell me about how in India women wear them as a statement of being deflowered; I said nothing.
He then proceeded to tell me that his profession is that he is one of the people who dresses up and stands in Time Square to take pictures with tourist.
“I am Iron Man.”
For those of you that are not familiar with the wacky things that take place in New York City, let me enlighten you. Over the past couple years, Time Square has become more touristy than I ever thought humanly possible. It is to the point where it is now crawling with weird men, such as the one sitting next to me, who dress up in strange, distorted costumes like Elmo, and in this man’s case, Iron Man and flag down tourists to take pictures with them. Because obviously a picture with a matted Elmo in Time Square is very authentic.
I wasn’t trying to be polite anymore so I blatantly laughed when he told me this. The train came to a halt. “Listen, I am very attracted to you, we should get coffee”
“Uh no….”
“What do you mean? We are clearly very attracted to each other.”
Now, I was really laughing.
I get up abruptly but before I get off, he called out to me “I’ll come find you in Wisconsin, I think you’re worth it”
And the possibility of an Iron Man searching Wisconsin far and wide for me is going to scare me for eternity.
So folks, if you took anything from this blog entry let it be rule #1:
Do not, under any circumstances, talk to strangers.
Thank you and have a good day


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