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Lovely and The Punk

I've just boarded my bus, which is rapidly filling up. The Punk across the aisle, however, is stubbornly refusing to move his bag from the seat next to him. He is staring sullenly out the window, so at first I assume he's just self-absorbed and has forgotten that his backpack is preventing others from sitting. But then I notice that, by some sixth sense, The Punk knows when someone is about to ask him to move his stuff; at these moments he abruptly turns to the interlopers and scowls, until they opt not to speak and continue down the aisle.

Suddenly, a lovely young lady boards, one of those girls that are so obviously unaware of their own allure that they are doubly attractive in the eyes of others. Everyone watches as she saunters down the aisle like a bride in an impromptu wedding, except for The Punk who is busy glaring at pigeons and wondering what he should get tattooed onto his tongue.

Lovely sees the spot next to The Punk, does a charming little skip, grabs one of the support poles and starts to swing herself into the seat. But then she sees the bag, somehow arrests her motion, chirps a "whoops!" and resumes walking towards the back of the bus. The Punk, meanwhile, who has turned towards her with his Angry Youth face in place, manages to look surprised and then delighted and then crestfallen all in the space of a second. He scoops his bag into his lap, but it's too late. A moment later an middle-aged man occupies the vacant seat, but The Punk offers no protest, as he's now craning his neck, scanning the back of the coach and trying to locate his lost opportunity. It's a Sophoclean tragedy in one act.

That was last week. This morning The Punk was again on my bus. He was sitting with his bag on his lap, leaving the adjacent seat free, a testament to the civilizing influence of women.

Posted on September 17, 2002 to Favorite Posts