I always love riding the #2 bus in Los Angeles, if only for the bizarre characters I meet there. In fact, I’m on the bus right now, and I just had a grungy character allegedly named “Bert” try and sell me a gold chain (“Don’t worry, it ain’t stolen!”).

My polite “thank you, but I’m not interested” prompted a bit of a surprising response; without missing a beat he immediately asked if I were married. Upon hearing that I was, indeed, not wed (as my left ring finger no doubt implies but which, I might add, is not the equivalent of “single”), he entreated me to enjoy a lengthy phone conversation with him later in the night (does this man even own a phone?).

At my repeated (and rather firm) deferrals, he shook my hand cordially, said good evening, and got off the bus at the next stop. Certainly one of the least effective pick-up strategies I know, since it lacked even the sometimes-persuasive but always uncomfortable silence after the final rebuff. Great escape strategy, though! (what an unexpected benefit of public transit!)