Thursday, July 24, 2014

A nomadic man on the bus told me about the zombie apocalypse

It's been a week or so since I've posted, but I have a good excuse. My BFF was visiting from Arkansas for a few days and we were having lots of adventures. I still need to weed through the photos I took, so that will come later. This entry is about another conversation with a stranger I had last night. (You can also go ahead and hear about my adventures with my BFF in this week's podcast episode.)

Last night, I went to a screening of The Garden of Words at the Japanese Film Festival. They're showing it a couple different times this week, but the only time I could go was last night at 9:15. Because of work, I never go out after dark, so I was kind of excited.

Firstly, the movie was great. It was quiet and strange and sad and the animation was unlike anything I've seen before. There's a trailer online, but it kinda sucks balls and doesn't do the movie justice at all. Just see the movie. The end.

The movie is also fairly short and was over by 10-ish, so I decided to walk around Japantown a bit since I've never been at night and the weather was nice (which it always is here, and which can get a little boring but I was thankful for it tonight).


One thing I've missed about living in a city so far away from home is being somewhere and knowing that nobody else in the world really knows where I am. I don't know if that makes sense. But, like, in Arkansas my family usually knows where I am, or they at least know I'm somewhere familiar to them and within reach. But my family has never been here. They don't know even know what it looks like. I'm 2,000 miles away from anyone who really knows me well enough to care about me, and that feeling of being lost in the world is somehow exhilarating.

After a while, I got on the 38 bus back to my place. A couple stops into the ride a homeless guy got on, although I don't know if he was homeless or just a nomadic-hippie-type person (so I'm going to call him "nomadic guy"). He looked to be about my age, maybe a few years older, and was carrying a couple large bags, a guitar, and a foam sleeping mat. Someone had just gotten up from their seat, and I offered it to him.

"Thanks, man," he said, putting his big foam mat in the seat and sitting down on top of it. The man in the seat in front looked uncomfortable that the nomadic guy was sitting behind him. "Don't worry," the nomadic guy said, "I won't hurt you. Probably." And then he laughed.

The driver's voice came over the speaker and he said something about transfers to the 44 bus. The nomadic guy mumbled something about the zombie apocalypse. I realized he was talking to me, but I hadn't heard, so I asked him to repeat it.

"The 44. That's the place to be if there's ever a zombie apocalypse," he said.

"Why's that?" I normally wouldn't engage someone in conversation on the bus, but I was curious. Plus, you can never be too prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

"I dunno. I've never been on it so I assume nobody else has, either." It sort of made sense, I guess. He then started telling me all about where the 44 bus goes. The man in front of him eventually got up to get off the bus and I asked the nomadic guy if he wanted to sit down in that seat because he looked kinda cramped sitting on top of his foam mattress.

"I'm good," he said. "Don't you wanna sit?"

"Nah, I like standing. I sit down all day."

"Admin job?"

I don't have an admin job, but I said "Mm-hmm" anyway. It was easier.

At this point, a dude-bro-type guy joined in the conversation and I sort of drifted out of it. The dude-bro seemed to get along better with the nomadic guy than I did. I'm just not very good at keeping up conversations, and I think the dude-bro was drunk and looking to chat. After a while, he and the nomadic guy were swapping jokes.

"What did the hippie say when someone asked him to get off their couch?" the dude-bro asked. "Namaste." They laughed. In-between jokes the nomadic guy would strum a little on his guitar.

The nomadic guy eventually told a particularly funny joke, but I don't remember it. I just remember I laughed and he hit me on the arm good-humoredly and said, "Ah, I got you with that one."

Eventually, the dude-bro offered to buy the nomadic guy a beer and they got off the bus together. And I went back to my place and it was quiet, aside from some muffled guitar playing slipping through the wall between me and my housemate. I think I'll be sad to leave this place in a couple weeks. Not so much this house, but just being somewhere where nobody knows where I am and where there's the potential for interesting late-night conversations with strangers about the zombie apocalypse.

-joe