Ranter: Fortyish white dude with Eastern-European accent, wearing Verizon cap, Air Jordans and pleated blue jeans
Location: 200 bus southbound on Alvarado
Time: 8:30 p.m.,Tuesday,
Topics covered: Friendliness; the chance of encountering pure beauty on a bus; the value of compliments; what women want; what women purport to appreciate; how suitors should behave when faced with a woman's refusal; spoiled food.
[Verizon Guy boards bus at Wilshire, pushes through a knot of passengers and stops to address a redheaded white woman of about 25.]
Verizon Guy: Excuse me. I am friendly, and you are beautiful. Are you friendly? Would you like to make friends?
[Verizon Guy digs a scrap of notebook paper from his pocket. It has been written on already.]
This is my number.
Redhead: I don't … need that.
Verizon Guy: It's just a phone number. I just like to make new friends.
[Redhead taps at her earbuds, looks away.]
Verizon Guy: It's just that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Someone like you, here, on this bus. You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. You look like Sophia Loren. Here, take it—
Redhead: I want you to stop.
Verizon Guy: That was a compliment I gave you. A nice compliment. Don't you like to be compli—
Teenage African-American Male (sitting one seat back): Lady said no, man.
[Redhead punches buttons on her phone.]
Verizon Guy: What's wrong with complimenting the most beautiful woman in the world? I thought women liked to be told that.
Redhead: [Into her phone] Javier, hey. I'm just a couple minutes away. You at the stop already? You going to be waiting?
[Bus stops at Pico. Stung, Verizon Guy edges toward door.]
Redhead: No reason. Just checking in.
Verizon Guy: I'm just being friendly, and you think I might actually—
[Verizon guy exits. Outside, he sets his bag down to wait for another bus. He still holds his phone number.]
Redhead: [Still into phone] No, it's nothing. Just one of those things.
Teenage African-American Male: He's got his number on paper. He still on a landline or something?
[Laughs from around the bus. Redhead does not participate.]
Redhead: [Into phone] No, nothing's bugging me. Except — you know what I did? It's stupid. I think I left the hummus out on the counter.