I was on the bus. The bus was one of the awesome new shiny hi-tech ones but this is not about that. A bloke (in his 30s or 40s? I can never tell) got on at one of the request stops a few after mine and I noticed that he and the driver were having a more lengthy discussion than is usually required when paying a bus fare. I was seated right near the front and so tuned in to eavesdrop.
The bloke was trying to tell the driver that he could not pay because he was taking the bus to get into the town to cash his benefit cheque. He showed the cheque and his passport which he had with him as ID for cashing the cheque. The driver was having none of it and insisting that the fare was 60p and the bloke was repeating himself.
In the end the driver issued him with a penalty fare ticket that the bloke would have to pay on his next bus ride home. The driver was understandably a bit grumpy. The bloke was all "entitled!!" and indignant that the driver had got grumpy about it.
Anyway, his voice was starting to rise and the bloke walked back to the seat opposite mine (great! :( ) saying, "Look! I just wanna pay my fare!" Ooooookay, then, why not make sure you reserve 60p from whatever you spend all of your benefit cheque on every two weeks so that you can cash the next one?
I sat there as the bus pulled off towards town. The bloke stood back up and walked forward of the point at which the signs clearly state we must not be when the vehicle is in motion and started ranting at the driver - yup, the signs also say we must not talk to the driver whilst the vehicle is in motion. The driver told him to sit down, quite calmly, in my opinion, and the bloke stomped back and slumped back in his seat.
I know you know that this was not the end of it! I cannot remember what he said, exactly, something like, "All for 60p!" You guessed it - he was trying to engage me in sympathetic conversation, me being a woman and all that. I continued to look out the front of the bus as if I had not heard him, occasionally looking out a different window and at no point making eye contact with him. I am pretty deft at pretending to not hear people because sometimes, … I can't hear at all well and so have even had to learn to lipread!
This continued for the whole journey (about 20 minutes) and, at the stop before I would be getting off the bus, the bloke stood up as if to get ready to alight. It was now that he said to me in a loud stage-whisper, something along the lines of, "You're a really boring woman!" I wish I had made a note of what he said. It is bugging me that I cannot remember, but that is me and the MonSter!
I replied with, "Excuse me?" which could equally have meant that I had not heard him or that I was indignant about what he had said. I did then say, "Whatever." under my breath, of which I am not proud but which I am not convinced he heard.
I still cannot believe how little this affected me - in recent and more distant years this would have really upset me and I would probably have engaged in conversation with him at the time he first spoke to me, attempting to 'fix' his misperception. These days? Not my problem and I am not going to waste my time and energy on someone else's 'entitlement' issues. Especially not someone I have never met before and am unlikely to have reason to be sociable with.
Anyway. I did not hear any of it, did I! ;-p
Posting with only a cursory re-read - may edit later for typos and clarity.
Edited to add a link to the Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced blog poste referenced in rm's post and its comments.