I love the randoms who speak to me on the night bus. By "love", I do of course mean, "feel incredibly awkward in the presence of". These things come in threes. Take the other night, for example:
My first conversation partner had the temerity to ask me to shift along the bench so she could sit down. When she asked if I had a lighter, I mumbled something negative, and she huffed and moved onto the person on my other side.* Once she was suitably ignited, she refocussed her attention on me and asked, "Why are you sad?" Though the fact that she was dropping fag ash on me and my bus didn't come for another fifteen minutes would have served as a reasonable approximation, her phone had started ringing before I could even scratch the surface of my melancholy.
Almost immediately, a boy on my opposite side made an overture on one of my favourite topics: the arcana of the night bus. After I informed him that it did indeed cost £2 to get home, I decided that he might prove more fruitful for conversation. I was proven right when he implied—in fact, he downright explicitly said—that he didn't think I was a serial-killer weirdo stalker. That's the single nicest thing a stranger has said to me since the time I met Heather the Weather.
The bus itself was a gauntlet of drunks, people I didn't like from school, and both. Fortunately, I didn't fall asleep, since I had to stand up (though that doesn't always stop me). When I alighted, I happened across my final friend of the evening, an apparently-sober, middle-aged man, who was wandering up the middle of Clarkston Road. Seemingly oblivious to the three-metre-tall road signs, a natural sense of place, or the fact that a packed night bus had just overtaken him, he asked me if he was walking in the right direction to town. I suggested a quick about-turn, and started outlining directions for the city centre. He seemed crestfallen when I confirmed that, yes, it would take an awful long time to walk. But perhaps by "town" he meant East Kilbride. In which case, no amount of directions could save him….
* This is almost as good a reaction as the one Stu elicited from a random on Sauchiehall Street earlier that night. Him: "Have you got a lighter?" Stu: "Sorry, I don't smoke." Him: "Aw, come on."