Didn’t pay too much attention to the woman’s conversation at first, my head full of poker hands and the afternoon meet-ups. After about five minutes I begin to notice the animated tone of her voice. She is clearly excited about whatever she was saying, I think to myself. A minute or two more and I am following her conversation quite closely. As is the rest of the second level of the southbound bus.
“It was like three guys for every girl,” she’s saying, clearly talking to a girlfriend. Apparently the previous evening involved a trip with the gals to the Rio for some clubbing. Our new friend wasn’t too crazy about the $20 entrance fee. Nor did she care for being expected to tip the bathroom attendant. However, she did like the fact that the line for the ladies’ room was much shorter than for the mens’....
“First I was dancing with Preston... no, no, no... I didn’t go home with him. He was like fifty-four or something. It was this other guy who he was with....”
I notice the woman sitting ahead of us turning back from time to time, rolling her eyes and shaking her head. An English couple across the aisle to my left are also looking over, the husband covering his face.
“He gave me a ride back to my timeshare,” she explains. “He’s an online stock broker. He’s like independently wealthy, or something.... Because he wears Perry Ellis.... Because when I was leaning in I was like ‘What’s this?’”
The laughter behind us is getting louder.
“Six-foot-three,” she continues. “He said he had tattoos.... I forgot to ask him to take off his shirt.” More laughs. “I was getting a crick in my neck. I just had to tell him I had to take a break from time to time....”
“YEA, BOYEEE!” a dude hollers from several rows back. It’s clear everyone on the second level is listening intently. And responding outwardly. And my neighbor continues to seem oblivious.
“What?!” she says. “That I’ll leave to the rest of your imagination.” Howls. “I can’t say in mixed company!”
The whole scene is growing increasingly surreal. I’m convinced this woman knows what’s going on, but then again.... I look to the left and see the English guy is almost crying he’s laughing so hard. “You can’t tell anybody,” she says. I keep my poker face, nodding in mock agreement.
“The guy is like really smart. He’s a shy, quiet guy... he says. He doesn’t usually do the things that we did last night. Oh! And the good news is he only had three beers.”
Hysteria. “THIS CAN’T BE REAL!” a woman cries from the back of the bus, having reached a social-etiquette-breaking-point of some sort. “WE MUST BE ON CANDID CAMERA!” Everyone agrees this seems a very likely possibility. A woman a few rows up half-jokingly asks her husband if her hair looks okay.
Our performer continues unfazed. “The guy has this very clean-cut image. Never been married. No kids. And I did talk to him in the morning. He left about 5:30. I called him and left him a voicemail. Just said ‘Kind of like a dream last night, just wanted to make sure that it really....’ And in the afternoon I called him again....”
“Anyone notice how no one is getting off this bus?” someone shouts. “I was supposed to get off at the Stratosphere!” comes the response. More peals of laughter.
“Tonight? I’m gonna go back to the Rio. With all those guys... suddenly... guys were on me. Wow! It must’ve been a three-to-one ratio...!”
The conductor announces the stop for Caesar’s, and the woman stands up. As I turn to allow her to pass into the aisle, I hear several cry “No!” She continues to talk while covering her ear, still not appearing to notice. As she turns to descend the stairwell, the entire top level spontaneously erupts into applause. She looks up uncertainly, and for the first time a glimmer of realization crosses her face.
Several minutes of reaction follow. The woman who had earlier speculated about Candid Camera congratulates me for having kept my cool. “That guy with the hat... he didn’t even FLINCH!” I smile and turn to the English gentleman. “Not bad for two bucks,” I say.
“That’s what he said,” he replies, not missing a beat.
Labels: *on the street