A lesson in how to speak to me on the street
I’m as grossed out and annoyed by catcalling and lechery as the next person with a blog, but when it’s played right, I can get behind some stranger banter. A good joke from someone you’re not expecting to hear from. A hiccup to remind you that every moment and every person is a choose-your-own-adventure starcloud spring-loaded with a million potentially cool things.
There are people out there who know how to talk to strangers, and there are people who wish they could talk to strangers and force it. I encountered two in the same friend group tonight.
I’m walking down the sidewalk having just gotten out of a cab home. I’m looking down at my phone seeing what I’ve missed during the car ride when a group of three dudes in their early 20s wearing puffy jackets approaches.
Guy one [whispered as we’re passing, almost into his shoulder]: You look good.
I give this no reaction. You know this dude gets hard off an eyeroll or a “fuck you,” so he gets neither. I continue scrolling, walking.
I recall a vague, “Fuck people, ” sentiment. Fuck this guy for doing that to the end of my night, fuck other people for being able to tamper with the equation of my mood.
But, maybe five paces out from our shoulder-to-shoulder communication, his friend yelled at me over his shoulder. I’m expecting more garbage. I’m unreceptive to this followup. Then:
Guy two: Yo, that’s a FUNNY Instagram!
This gave me pause. I was looking at Instagram. I bit.
Me [over my shoulder, still walking]: Yeah, it is.
Guy two [over his shoulder]: I saw your face in it. You’re funny. Have a good night.
And that was it. They kept walking. I kept walking. We all retreated back to our lives where we don’t orbit the same things. But I jogged up the stairs with a smile on my face.
It was a funny Instagram.