I took BART to and from the city today. Since it was a spare-the-air day, and transit was free for all or part of the day, lots of people did the same thing. The train into the city wasn't too bad, but on the way home, all eight cars were standing room only.
For the ride home I stood against a pole by a door, and occupied the time by reading a Mark Stantz trip report on my phone. (If you don't know what that is, don't worry about it; it's not really relevant.) As we were passing under the bay, an older Hispanic gentleman with tanned skin and a head of wavy white hair motioned to me. I walked over.
"Your hair, it is very beautiful."
"Very lovely. Did you do it because you wanted to be different?"
"Actually, yes, I did."
"It's very beautiful. You must be a wild woman."
"It's been said." I smiled.
He asked my name, and told me that his was Rodolfo. He reached his hand out as if to offer a high five, but instead he grasped my hand in his and smiled up at me. The conversation seemed to come to and end, and so I reached for my phone to start reading again.
A few seconds later, he started singing to me in a melodic but untrained voice. The song was in Spanish, but it was clearly a love song. The other patrons on the crowded train seemed completely unfazed by this-- in fact, none of them seemed to be paying even the tiniest bit of attention. I briefly considered enlisting one of them to help me out of the situation by pretending to be a friend, but Rodolfo seemed more sweet than creepy.
When he finished his song, he reached for my hand and kissed it.
The West Oakland stop came and went.
He touched my hand and smiled at me again. "You are the most beautiful..." He lifted his hands wide above his head, and looked heavenward. "Thank you god!"
The next stop was mine. He kissed my hand again as I turned toward the door, and smiled up at me one last time. "Thank you. You have made my day."
Originally posted on patti.vox.com