i hopped on the 15 around 10:27 AM, as i always do on thursday mornings. my ride to my writing workshop is long, and i always come armed with entertainment, podcasts and at least one book. typically, the ride happens without event or upset, but you seemed determined to make this particular thursday a memorable one.
when i moved toward the back of the bus, sitting on the left side and facing a bookish looking professional, with his arms crossed over his bag, i barely even registered your presence. the seat you chose in the far corner of the very back row of the bus is unobtrusive–an excellent choice for those of us going on a long ride. plus, you’re a generic looking white dude wearing a questionable hat–a breed so common in portland that it is barely worth noting.
what really caught my attention, though, was when you sifted through your backpack and pulled out a slim can of fish and peeled back the lid. i did my best to mask my shock–there is something particularly galling about pulling out a smelly canned good and eating it freely in a common space. but that wasn’t where it ended.
the truly remarkable moment, however, was when you took the lid, LICKED IT SEVERAL TIMES, and then PLACED IT, DOWNFACING, ON THE FLOOR OF THE BUS. then, you proceeded to take each piece of fish out of the can with your fingers, tilt your head all the way back, and slide each piece into your gaping maw, after which you LICKED EACH FINGER WITH A SMACKING NOISE.
this is not what anyone had in mind when stressing the magic and importance of sharing meals and bonding over food.
there is no way you didn’t notice my transparent disgust, or the moment the anxious professional and i exchanged a wide-eyed look of distaste, which nearly devolved into uncomfortable laughter.
after haphazardly wiping your fish-oiled, saliva coated fingers on your jeans, you plopped the rest of the can down on the floor with your lid, leaving me to mentally calculate how i could track where your filthy hands went next should you get off the bus before me and i would have to follow in your tracks.
i want to thank you, though, for inspiring me to add a crucial tool to my commuting bag: a metric fuckton of napkins and plastic forks to pass out to fools who CANNOT BE BOTHERED TO NOT EAT EXTREMELY PUNGENT FOOD WITH THEIR HANDS AND THEN WIPE THEM ALL OVER A SHARED SPACE BEFORE WASHING.
the grouchy brunette who hopes you cut your finger on an open can