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Somewhere on the Left Coast
A Bust Stop Encounter from an Astute Reader
Encounter of the Mundane Kind
I had an interesting encounter yesterday at a bus stop somewhere on the Left Coast.
I was waiting for a bus on one of the city's main streets. I was standing outside the bus shelter, about 10 feet away from it. I was wearing a t-shirt, cargo pants and a baseball cap. I had sunglasses on.
A few minutes later, a small ghost female 18-20 years old with dark green hair and a nose ring stumbled her way in the shelter. She was bent over her phone, her face obscured by a curtain of dirty green hair. She glanced at me fearfully a couple times before dissolving herself back in the phone.
A few seconds later, a young ghost twerp showed up on a longboard. I had a bad feeling about him but couldn't quite determine the source of it. He was smaller than me - about 5'8 170 lbs to my 6'2 250 lbs - and was wearing a black cloth mask to ward off the Cordova. He looked at me briefly, then walked closer to the girl and exchanged a few words with her. I couldn't quite tell if she was responsive or not. Then the long wait for #15 began.
As we were waiting, the young ghost started to look at me more intently, nodding his head towards me in an inquisitive way - like someone who thinks they know you but can't quite place you, you know? I responded with a slight nod just to acknowledge his presence then went back to my silent vigil, staring blankly down the road to spot my bus. Young Ghost then started to move closer to me, still nodding at me, his mouth obscured by the mask - only now his demeanor had changed; he was moving his hands, pointing to me then softly thumping his chest, his nodding getting more aggressive in the process. Because of the mask and the distance between us, I couldn't quite understand what he was saying.
It was then that my dull French mind clued in: I was being challenged.
Understanding this, I made an appeasing gesture with one hand before looking the other way, forcing myself to not look in his direction, I was monitoring his position using my peripheral vision. After a while, he calmed down and disengaged. The whole thing lasted about 10 seconds and was over just as fast. The bus eventually pulled in and we all boarded without incident.
Reflecting on this, I came to understand that this little encounter was largely my fault:
1) Bad Positioning - I was standing on the wrong side of the bus shelter, which forced me to look down the street (and through the shelter's glass panes) to spot my bus.
2) My eyes were obscured by sunglasses. Since he couldn't see my eyes, he must have thought I was eyeballing him.
3) My body language is odd: when idle, I tend to stand as motionless as a scarecrow, only pivoting on my feet to scan my surroundings. Though this is natural for me, I was told many times by friends and acquaintances that this can be freaky as fuck.
In light of this incident, I will be limiting my use of sunglasses and only wear them when absolutely necessary. I will also carry a small notebook and a pen on me at all times. The pen could be used as a weapon and the notebook will allow me to look busy while waiting/scanning my surroundings. As you wisely pointed out yourself in one of your last posts, it is now the norm to be slumped over a phone and a ghost male who is not indulging in this behavior is bound to look suspicious. I'm not big on phones, so I'll grab the notebook instead.
What are your thoughts on this encounter?
Best regards,
- Mike, still in Exile.

You did not get submitted, arrested or stuck with a dirty needle or have your teeth knocked out with that skateboard. So this was a good resolution.
Due to the use of sunglasses to intimidate by cops and movie and TV villains, my favorite being “The Man with No Eyes” from Cool Hand Luke, sun glasses do seem to invoke challenge responses more often than not. They also evoke fear. I was wearing sunglasses with my bandana on the train to sleep and protect my bad eye from the door light and it freaked out all but one person on the train.
Your size and the fact that you were not involved in their stoner lifestyle and drug use, made you threatening and possibly seeming to be straight and therefore out of favor with their ethos. Dope heads are heroes in Stoner America. You are a Nazi for being civil.
Yes, a guy your size, pivoting, is going to freak out non-physical types like the dirty drug whore. But, if this kid was athletic enough to use that skateboard, he probably figured he could take you, because being stiffly stationary is not functional in any combat or sports context I know of. I much prefer guys your size to guys his size as enemies because of chin access. Plus, he had a big chunk of wood to hit you with, probably knew you were peaceful and was just posturing for his slut so that she would feel better about the terrible stuff he has long since done to her.
The pen is a good idea. The pad, don’t write on it until you are on the bus. It gives off conflicting submissive and inquisitive vibes while standing around criminal people. Avoid cop behavior when not a cop, especially around ferals.
Based on your size I have some suggestions:
-1. Lounge and lean like a lion, man-spread, slouch and otherwise be relaxed. Leaning on the outside of the shelter is good.
-2. Pace and prowl like tiger. If this bothers people roll your shoulder and tuck your chin and look at them peripherally like you did in this encounter while killing them over and over again in your mind. Your body will be cued for action in case something goes down.
-3. Your looking through their spot had some effect, but I prefer it, as you can keep an eye on them and the bus at the same time, so keep that up. You are the enemy of all the world, so you must be diplomatic AND tactical, making some compromises against other people’s feelings for the good of your tactical position. Every bus stop is, has or will be a battlefield and probably has seen combat of some sort.
-4. Always get on the bus last.
-5. Big guys should learn to slap. Practice slapping stuff without winding up, just sending your hand inward from where it is. Slapping a book on a counter downward for practice is good for practicing force transfer. Practice slapping telephone poles, trees, doorframes, beams, dumpsters and brick and block walls. Get good at this and you will never have to punch or stab. Practice raising your left hand up towards your ear in a speaking salute and slapping from a rising right hand to cuff that ear and destroy that ear drum. Get a friend and practice slapping and checking each other’s shoulders.
Take care out there.
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