I've given Facebook teasers about him for a long time, and I've been avoiding writing about him. That's because I do not like him. I don't like him at all. Usually I tolerate just about everyone on the bus, if not because they're pleasant, because they are entertaining. I see hundreds of people a month on the buses and 90% of the time I have no opinion one way or the other. Moustache Man is a little different.
Moustache Man is a regular on the Express buses. He's been riding them longer than I have, so he knows a few people on the normal routes. He's been irritating me since I first started riding the Express buses almost four years ago.
As I've said before, I used to sit in the front of the bus. I had a few people in the morning that I'd chit chat with. Sometimes the morning people would ride the afternoon bus, and the chats would continue. Usually at night I don't want to talk. I want to zone out, sleep, or just think. The bus is actually the place where I can relax. My home is a busy one. The long bus rides are my last chance for peace before going home. So I have limited myself to who I talk to. I have found that if you talk to someone once, they expect it.
One evening as I was staring out the window in the first forward facing seats, Moustache Man plopped down in front of me in the sideways seat. He looks at me and begins talking.
Moustache Man: Blah blah blah blah [His lips are moving but my earbuds are in]
Me: [I remove the earbuds.] What's that?
Moustache Man: I see you're on this bus a lot.
Moustache Man: And you're always listening to music.
Me: Mm hmm.
Moustache Man: What are you listening to on your music player?
Me: Music. [Tone changes from conversational to informative.] Uhm, this is my last chance to relax before I go home to my kid who is usually very loud. I'm going to continue listening to my music.
Moustache Man: [Sour grapes.] Oh, okay then.
And that was it. I started a reaction within that man's soul. From this warm summer evening in 2008, he has been hellbent on talking to me.
I wish I had this power on everyone.
Before I continue, I should give you more background on this guy.
- He stares people down until they talk to him.
- He smiles and waves at the regulars, even though they don't talk to him.
- I believe Moustache Man thinks I'm a total prick with a terrible life. He just wants to make me laugh. That would complete him.
- He wears sunglasses even when it's dark and stares at people.
- Seriously, he was banned from the morning Express bus because women had complained to the driver that he was intentionally rubbing his leg against theirs during the bus rides.
- Not only did he rub legs on purpose, he also got off behind the women and walked behind them until they got to their offices. It happened to like five different regular bus riders. He's a full on creep.
- He did sit next to me months and months ago on the middle sideways seats and he did not rub his leg on mine.
- He reads a children's encyclopedia of the presidents. Either he's reading up to become a better conversationalist or a Jeopardy! contestant. He's not cool enough to go on Jeopardy!.
- He looks just like a younger Dennis Franz from NYPD Blue, but he's super short.
This is Dennis Franz from NYPD Blue. If he tried to lure me into a lame ass conversation on the bus I'd be pissed at him, too. (Photo: SFGate.com)
In the days following our botched conversation about my "music player" (WTF: Is it a Fisher Price boom box or something?) Moustache Man took on a different side. He became the victim. The victim of my silence. He would stare at me until I looked over at him, then he'd look forlorn and shift his pathetic gaze out the window. This happened numerous times. I even tested it thinking I was the crazy one. Nope. It was him. He was playing a weird bus game with me. I did not like this.
I absolutely cannot stand people who play the victim. It might be in my Top 5 Pet Peeves.
Soon, when he'd stare at me I would respond with a glare. A really hateful, ugly glare. Icy daggers shot right through him. He would look so sad, eyes darting nervously around. My friend who has a very pleasant face and personality puts on her "Philly Face" in public so people won't mess with her. I haven't been to Philadelphia, but apparently I could fit right in.
He waved at me a few times and I sneered at him. He put on his sunglasses to stare at me, and while I sat peacefully listening to my "music player" I raised my middle finger to him. Then I smiled.
I am not the glaring type. I laugh everything off. I'm never mean to anyone. Except Moustache Man. I had nothing against him in the beginning. But this "Oh poor me - I just want to talk to you" thing really irritates me. Yes, I'm funny. I don't want to entertain someone for an hour a day. And really, Metro rules state you should respect those around you. That means leaving them alone when they ask you to.
Moustache Man would watch sadly through his cheap sunglasses as I laughed it up with the Fijian I.R.S. agent, the front desk gal from the chiropractor, and the security guards who work the Husky games. Sometimes he'd start talking to the people next to him, glancing back at me repeatedly to make me jealous. This made me even happier to talk with the cool people.
It's gotten to the point he won't sit near me. I think my scary looks have started freaking him out. The other night I had the last open seat on the bus and he skipped by me.
I won the game.
I get what Moustache Man's problem is. He's lonely. That is sad. Loneliness sucks, but a grown man playing a pitiful me/victim game with another grown man on the bus -- and you don't even know each other? That is why he's lonely. Well, that and the pervy crap he pulls on the ladies.
This is a Philadelphia bus. I would totally get my ass beat on one of these.
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.)