Hi, I Think We're Neighbors!

I'd seen her around the neighborhood plenty of times, but we'd never had an opportunity to talk.

She was cute. Blond, early 30s, curvy but fit, wore smart glasses, quirky skirts, fun colored shirts and sweaters... She somehow pulled off that delicate balance of being always noticeable without being over the top.

She was quiet. I'd seen her shopping for groceries at Safeway. I'd even seen her sitting on a bench, enjoying a cup of coffee under the shade of trees that line the Park Blocks. Most often, I'd seen her on the streetcar. Sometimes she was getting on the streetcar when I was exiting, or other times she was exiting the streetcar as I was entering - almost always at the same streetcar stop.

Over a period of two years, I'd crossed paths with her time and time again. And, did I mention she was cute?

I think this sort of thing is common when you live in a neighborhood for a while. You start to recognize people.

The homeless man who wishes people a good day while standing on the same street corner each day.

The woman who works at the local grocery store and is either crazy or disgruntled.

The man who you pass in the park that is either crazy or disgruntled.

And, for me, there was the cute blond woman I would see time and time again while riding the streetcar.

One day, while waiting for the streetcar, I saw her approach. She was almost running because the streetcar was only a block away. Her hair was bobbing up and down as her lovely breasts swayed from side to side while she hurried to the streetcar stop. How could I not notice how adorable she was?

These are the thoughts that roam through my mind:

"Oh good lord Rob. Here she comes. Are you going to introduce yourself?"

"Well... maybe."

"What do you mean, 'maybe'?"

"I mean, I don't know... what do I say?"

"What do you say?!?!? Say hello for chrissssakes!!!"

"And then what?"

"And then she'll say hello... and you mention something about how we must be neighbors because you always see her around... and she'll probably say that she's seen you around too and hey, we should have a drink sometime... and she'll say that would be great... how about tomorrow... Tomorrow? That's perfect! 5:30, at the Market St. Pub? Of course! Perfect! Well then I'll see you there... blah blah blah... see how easy that was?"

"...I don't know..."

"You don't know?!? WTF man! The streetcar is here, and she's standing right behind you!"

"...I know..."

"She smells great, doesn't she?"

MMmmmmm... "Yeah, she does..."

"So... step aside... let her get on the streetcar first. You'll follow her on, standing beside her... and you'll make your move!"

"...my move?"

"OH good lord man! Just introduce yourself!!!! Get a conversation going!!!!"

The streetcar stopped just as my brain had exhausted me with conversational possibilities. I stepped to the right as the doors opened. People exited the crowded streetcar, and I followed the blond woman on, stopping to stand next to her.

As the streetcar pulled away from the stop, it occurred to me that she might be getting off at the library! She looked book-smart. I could definitely picture her getting off at the library... "That's just three blocks away," my brain said. "It's now or never!"

I took one last deep breath to enjoy her perfume. "Ahhh..." She smelled of roses. Oh, it was such a beautiful smell. I paused for just a moment more to enjoy it agai...

"...STOP STALLING!" my brain shouted!


And with that, I leaned toward her and said...

"Hi... I thought I'd introduce myself... We've probably passed by each other a million times... I'm guessing we both live in the neighborhood? I think we're neighbors. I always see you on the streetcar... or shopping at Safeway. I tend to do my grocery shopping there at night because it gets so busy there during the day... honestly, with the lines over there you'd think this neighborhood is busy enough to support two grocery stores... anyway... I'm Rob. Nice to finally meet you!"

My rambling outburst was followed by an awkward silence.

"Oh god!" My brain thought at top volume. "What have you done? She's so cute, and she obviously lives in the neighborhood! You just rambled on like an idiot! Now what? She probably thinks you're a loser! Oh GOD! I bet she does! I bet she thinks you're some kind of stalker! I bet that right now, she's trying to figure out how to avoid even talking to you!!! TO US!!!!!!!"

But then, she spoke.

She said: "Hello. I.... I see you too! I... My English... not so good.... I... from... with my boyfriend.... here... from Germany..."

With that, I wished her a fantastic afternoon and reached for the button to request a stop. As the streetcar doors opened, I stepped off, knowing that... fuck it... another streetcar will come along in about ten minutes.

P.S. Dear Brain. "Screw you."

::::: | Thursday, Jul 09 2009 at 10:28 PM
::::: |


Roscoe said:

Damn foreign women and their wily ways!

::::: | July 11, 2009 9:22 AM

karen Narusewicz said:

awwwwwwwwwwwww! damn boyfriends!

::::: | July 11, 2009 6:00 PM

agata said:

fantastic story, no matter a real one or not; the final speach of yours was great, i wouldn't have courage to say it; my way is to find out more about the person and then gently get closer by putting myself in the circumstances involving him - it's more time-consuming and emotionally involving but finally easier as the situation seems to be natural :) of course it's not but only i know that so it's easier to deal with it. screw up coincidences..

::::: | July 14, 2009 3:51 PM

Karen said:

so have you seen her since?

::::: | July 18, 2009 5:58 PM

Rob said:

Nope. Haven't seen her since. I actually talked to her for a few minutes while the streetcar made its way a few blocks through traffic. Her and her boyfriend were moving back to Germany soon. I'm guessing they're gone now.

The above story happened a long time ago, but I remembered it and jotted it down when I did because I'd seen a guy get stuck in a conversation with a stranger on the streetcar that day, talking to someone who didn't speak the language but was super enthusiastic to chat. When I saw him exit at the next streetcar stop, I was dying to know if he was REALLY getting off at his stop, or if he was just politely bailing on an impossible conversation.

God, I love people watching on the streetcar! Sometimes, it's the best thing ever!

::::: | July 18, 2009 6:27 PM

sjm said:

one less time you didn't try though. pretty good advice, as brains go.

::::: | March 16, 2011 1:52 PM

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