An Open Letter to the Elderly Woman on the Bus the Other Day

Dear Elderly Woman on the Bus the Other Day,

Let me start by apologizing for the fact that I don’t know your name, I should’ve asked but at the time it just didn’t come up. I imagine it would be something inappropriately badass for a woman of your age; something of a Xena, M or even Agent 99 would be fitting.

You probably wouldn’t expect my likening you to a warrior woman when we first met. After all, I imagine not many women in their late eighties would conjure such an image in one’s mind, but you certainly did. Maybe it was because you were sitting right up the back of the bus, like a high-school rebel, rocking your purple cardigan and white knitted hat. Or maybe it was just something to do with your general aura.

Anyway, I would just like to say thank you for absolutely making my day. Of all the people I strike up conversation with on public transport (I never really got the “don’t talk to strangers’ memo) you are by far my favourite. In the short fifteen or so minutes that we chatted you taught me many life lessons, most of which I assume have no basis other than your own meandering experience. Among other things, you taught me that being late is fine so long as you make an entrance, to always make sure you have lipstick on (“You never know when Mr. Clooney is going to wander into the supermarket”) and to never leave home without a middle finger to stick to someone who pisses you off. It is these fragments of possibly ill-guided advice that I will now implore myself to live by.

You can thus understand my utmost devastation when you got off at the next stop, and this being a route I don’t usually take I only later realised my predicament of not crossing paths with you again. Believe me had I realised this earlier I would have said this all to you in person, but at the time all I managed was a “Have a good day!” and you a “I always do”. If I am half as cool as you are at any point in my lifetime I will be insurmountably pleased with myself.

I would like to finish by saying that if the demi Gods of coincidence ever look down on me favourably and we should cross paths again, I will certainly shout you that skinny flat white you have been dying for all day.

Kind regards,

Girl on the Bus the Other Day

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I Know That You Know Me And You Know That I Know That You Know Me, But I Don’t Know You

I am truly sorry but while you stand there discussing how things have been going since we last saw each other, I may be politely nodding and smiling, but on the inside I have no idea who you are. 

You stopped me in a crowd, called me by name, and started chatting about how I am going. Clearly you know me, and I must know you somehow but I just cant remember. And in an effort to remember who you are, I kept chatting and now its come to that awkward stage where our conversation is too far gone that I can’t try and politely ask who on Earth you are and how you know me. So I continue to stand there, answering your lovely questions about how I am, and in return trying to ask vague enough questions that they apply to anyone, but specific enough that it sounds like it applies directly to you. In the end we parted our ways, you with a “So good to run into you!” and I with a “You too!”. But when I said “You too!” I really meant “Thank God I didn’t have to say your name at any point in this conversation”.

You have worried me Mysterious Person, because I tend to have a pretty good memory, and being able to put names to faces comes quite easily to me. But you have me completely stumped. I have even spoken to family members, described you, and no one else can place you. Maybe you really didn’t know me, and it’s just a funny coincidence that you called my name…no it couldn’t be. Coincidences like that don’t just happen, in the words of Sherlock Holmes, “the universe is rarely so lazy.” 

So the mystery of your identity continues…maybe someday soon it will click and all become clear. Like those times you are desperately trying to remember the name of ‘that actor’ in ‘that film’ and its only at 3am two days later that you realise of course it was Robert Downey Jr! I don’t know, bad example maybe?

But anyhoo, if you ever end up reading this, I hope you understand.