Tag Archives: conversation

Chatty Strangers

It has been a while since I’ve had a weird city bus experience, so I suppose I was due for one. And boy, did I get it today! 

I sent this message to a few friends summarizing the first experience of the day:

Me: No one ever asks me out
Homeless guy on the bus: How old are you? You single? You looking for a good man? Can I have your number? Do you like coffee? You this hard on everyone? You are so beautiful. How old are you? High school? College? You can have my number. The law, eh? Good thing….the law. Criminal law? Mmmm. You take this bus often? 

It made me laugh but I started feeling uncomfortable after a while so I turned to the girl next to me and complimented her skirt. 

I then spent the next 15 minutes listening to the girl’s life story. And what a story! I learned about her transfer between Madison and Marquette (and back to Madison.) About her dream job as an architect in New York City which should have been amazing and wasn’t. About how she started meditating because she felt so unhappy and realized her true passion was natural medicine. About how Queen Anne’s Lace is a natural birth control and “mother nature’s way of telling us to have fewer children.” And about her upcoming psychics exam. 

Needless to say, my new suitor quickly fell into the background. 

But my day was just beginning. Perhaps I looked extra-approachable today. (I have the opposite of an RBF.) Perhaps I responded with a little more enthusiasm than normal because I drank a pot of coffee this morning. All I know is, normally I have maybe 2-3 conversations per day outside of class participation. And today I had closer to 12. Everyone was talking to me! I learned more about my classmates today than I have all semester! 

And then as I left the law school today, a random stranger made eye contact and shouted, “Hey, boo!” Which, I stress, does not happen to me.

It was a weird day. 

Friday the 13th?

“It is Friday the 13th,” I inform my sister ominously. “And a full moon.” 

She looks at me blankly. 

“You know…Fridayyyyy the 13th!” I say again. 

Still no reaction. In fact, she tells me: “I don’t get it.”

“You don’t know Friday the 13th?” I ask. 


“You’re pulling my leg!”


“How do you not know Friday the 13th?”

“Should I…?”

“It is like…bad luck.”


“And horror. Like Halloween but without any of the redeeming elements.” 

“So it comes every year…?”

“No…just when Friday falls on the 13th. Because 13 is an unlucky number…y’know?”


“Well…it is. And somehow it is more unlucky on a Friday.”

“How do you know this?”

“How do you not know this?!”

Another blank look. 

“Well, you know about full moons, right?”

“It is when the moon is…full?” 

“No! Well, yes! But like, werewolves and stuff come out. How have you missed all this? I’m sure there was an Arthur episode.”

“Yeah, I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Peoples. My sister somehow missed all cultural context to bad luck or horror movies. I do not know how this is possible. Today has literally no meaning for her.

A Typical Conversation With Amy

Bethany: “Don’t we need to leave soon?”

Me: “Yes, but I have a chapter and a half left! I must find out what happens! I suspect she won’t die but you never know.” 

Bethany: “M’kay.”

* a few minute later* 

Me: “BETHANY. I FINISHED. IT WAS WONDERFUL. Do you want a spoiler?”

Bethany: “Sure.”

Me: “She didn’t die!”

Bethany: * who doesn’t even know what book I’m reading * “I didn’t think she would.”

I have a most excellent roommate in my sister. 

I am incapable of making small talk about books

“So do you like to read?” asks the young man at the party.

“Oh yes!” I enthuse. “I’ve read 234…35? books this year so far!” 


Long, awkward silence.

We’ve already established that he considers himself a reader. But compared to my reading…well…it looks kind of weak. Also he primarily reads comics. 

“What genre do you read the most?” he asks. 

Law,” I want to say. But no, I’m not going to be snarky. I’m trying to make a friend. What do I read a lot of? 

“Mysteries,” I say. No way am I admitting to the amount of fluffy regency novels I consume. 

“Okay! Best mystery?” he asks. 

If you’re looking closely, you can see the steam releasing from gears in my head as I try and answer. Best mystery? There are soooooo many. How do you quantify that? Best cozy mystery? Best noir? Best series? Best detectives? Best plots? And best mystery from when? Over my entire reading history? Over the last year? Over the last month? I’ve read 7 mystery novels this month alone. 

“Anything by Agatha Christie is great,” I finally say, after what I realize comes across as an awkwardly long pause. 

He does not know Agatha Christie. 

Murder on the Orient Express is classic,” I say. “But I don’t recommend the most recent movie.” 

Movies are safe, I think. I’ve only seen so many of those. My brain won’t go into overdrive trying to sort out the right answer. 

Alas, my new friend is determined to be courteous and stick to my favorite subject. “What is the best book you’ve read this year?” 


I read 236 books this year so far. You think I remember off the top of my head which one was the best? 

“I need to look,” I admit, pulling up my phone. “Do you have the Goodreads app?” 

He does not. He has never heard of it. I try and explain,

“Well, as you can see, I have 1,949 read books on here…” I start. His eyes glaze over. I’ve lost him.

Honestly, I’m lost too. My reading this year has officially pushed me outside of the realm of small talk.

In Which I Attempt to Rebel With Heavy Metal

Me: “I am listening to heavy metal to assuage my angry feelings.”

Friend: “I’m trying to think of a way to ask what a Homeschooler considers heavy metal without sounding condescending…” 

Me: “Good question. I typed “metal” into Spotify and am listening to something with lots of yelling. I can’t understand any of the words.”

Friend: “You are officially a grandma.”

*5 minutes later*

Me: “My ears really hurt.”