The metro slid through the tracks lining up to the indicator stickers stuck on the platform just as I walked down the stairs to the rhythm of my music.
When I came out from the metro, the bus that would conveniently take me to the corner of my place of work pulled away from the sidewalk fashionably 1 minute after I boarded it.
The morning was dull and the clouds were low and draining on the many faces that mine passed. I caught everything that morning on time as though a red balloon of luck and optimism were following, attached to a string behind me.
But then I caught a man’s attention, and well, he followed me instead.
Stepping off of the bus I felt a shadow mimicking my own.
I moved out of the man’s way and waited on the sidewalk for the pedestrian cross-walk-stick-figure sketch to tell me what to do next. The man I originally tried to avoid stood silent and beside me.
The green man from the cross walk box appeared like a Light-Brite creation ahead in my gaze, making me move hastily almost as though I took his countdown from 22 as a challenge.
The man followed and stuck beside me like the velcro on a child’s sneaker as he kept my pace.
The man spoke: “Hey, what time is it?”
“It’s five to eight” I replied, looking at my phone, lowering the sounds of my music but keeping my headphones in the caves of my ears.
Precipitously, the averaging on 40 year-old said to me as I continued to walk and keep my eyes staring at something in the off distance, “I like your boots.”
Without a moment of pause he asked faster than I could really make sense of the question, “Do you wear them a lot?”
“I mean, yes…” I answered.
“Do you watch sports?” he wanted to know.
“Not particularly” I answered, afraid to ask why.
The scattered pattern of his speech came to a switch when he began repeating instead.
“Do you go fishing? Do you like to fish? Do you, do you go fishing?”
“Yes” I said calmly, looking to his cheek.
He stared at my feet for a moment.
“And you wear those boots? Do you wear those boots when you fish? Do they laugh at you for that? Don’t they laugh at you for that?”
“No, because I wear those” I said, pointing at his feet which were protected by rain boots.
He glanced down making sure his own boots were appropriate for the activity we were discussing.
“But these are men’s boots. You wear men’s boots? Don’t they laugh at you, laugh at you, laugh at you?”
“Well I go fishing with my Dad.”
“They don’t laugh at you?” he spoke faster, “doesn’t your dad laugh at you?”
“My dad’s never really been one to laugh at me too much” I confessed.
We were halfway through the parking lot, two more minutes from the front doors of my work.
“Are you wearing a dress? Is that a dress you’re wearing?”
I began to laugh.
“Is that a dress or a skirt” he said becoming very quizzical, wondering why I had laughed.
“It’s a dress” I confirmed.
“Oh cool!” he said, oddly taking a pause, “do you wear that when you go fishing? Do you wear dresses when you go fishing or skirts or shorts when you go fishing? Do you wear that?” he asked, looking at my body.
I said very sharply, as suddenly as the something inside of my brain that cracked, “Okay. I’ve had enough now.”
The man, in that instant, literally ricochet off of me and began walking back towards the bus stop where we met.
Like I said, I caught everything that morning.
It’s almost like I went fishing.