So there I am. Walking down the street, minding my own business. On the other side of the road is an old lady trying to get something out of her purse. Ahead of me is that guy, you know, that guy who never wears a shirt no matter the season. Behind him, three schoolgirls are walking side by side, snickering in that way only tweens can manage. And behind them a cute guy is staring bewildered at the street signs.
My iPod isn't playing. I'm usually listening to music when I walk, but right now I am on my way to buy new headphones. I feel oddly vulnerable without my amour of piano and drums and, I admit, a little Cliff Richard action. I keep my head down low as I shoulder my way past Ugly Half-Naked Guy, the snickering tweeny trio and the confused cutie, and then, just as I think myself safe, someone calls from behind.
"Hey! Hey, excuse me?"
I turn around, all ready to say thanks, but no thanks, I'm fine without Jesus - and there is Cute Guy, looking right at me. Cover blown.
"You don't happen to know where the architect school is, do you?"
He is trying to get eye contact. But I don't do eye contact with strangers, and I stubbornly turn my gaze to the wall behind him, as I say:
"I think it's down the road and to the left. I'm almost definitely certain..."
"Ah, so that's the way, is it?" says Cute Guy, laughing. How dare he laugh, here, on the street, in broad daylight?! What kind of psycho am I dealing with?
"Yes," I reply briskly. "That is the way."
I'm already half turned around, ready to make a run for it, but Cute Guy isn't done yet.
"Did you just start studying here too?"
What an insolence! I give him the stink eye to make sure he understands just how improper it is to make assumptions about a young girl with a computer bag coming from the direction of pretty much every educational institution in the city.
"Actually I'm a second year, up at the university."
There. That taught him. No naïve freshman here. I totally got that shit covered. I step backwards, clearly showing that this little rendezvous is over.
"Are you single?"
For a moment I am completely flabbergasted. What? What did he ask me? The smile he is sending me assures me that I heard correctly, and I manage to snap out of it just long enough to give him the full elevator treatment and snort out a haughty "A-bye-bye."
I spin around without waiting for his reaction and storm off.