Yeah, so, here’s a totally true story about how I started singing Michael Jackson’s “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” on BART with some random guy.
I was riding back to San Francisco from Lafayette after my hair appointment. And yeah, I get my hair done in Lafayette. Oh, and yeah, I know I hardly have any hair, but I still color it, because I’m not ready to be gray yet. Oh, and yeah, I know that with a faux hawk I look like Ed Grimely.
So anyway, this hair appointment that is every six weeks isn’t just a hair appointment. My sister, my oldest friend Amanda, and my 13-year-old niece Lorelei join me. We all get our hair done together, and then we go out to dinner. I drink several glasses of wine and take BART home. It’s our thing, and our thing is awesome.
So, I was riding home on BART, kinda tipsy as usual — just listening to music, looking at Instagram and trying to stay off Facebook because I don’t want to read about how Donald Trump has gone Full Hitler. It’s depressing.
A man, possibly homeless, definitely off in some way sat down next to me. He pointed at my Star Wars Vans.
Him: “I like your shoes.”
Me: “Thank you.”
Him: “You know those things outside of Oakland? Those structures? Spielberg used them as inspiration for those big walking things in ‘Star Wars.’”
Me: “I know.”
I didn’t bother to correct him that it was George Lucas, not Steven Spielberg, and those things are called AT-ATs and they were in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Wearing Star Wars-shoes is nerdy enough, and I don’t need to school some random guy on Bart about all things Star Wars. Also, Lucas says that’s a myth, but whatever, it’s still a cool story.
At this point, I took out my earbuds. Instead of staring at my phone and reading about other people’s experiences, I was going to talk to this guy.
Him: “I’m not wearing my nice Italian loafers today, because it’s going to rain.”
Me: “I think it’s supposed to rain on Thursday, so you could still wear them for a few days this week.”
Him: “And I have this nice jacket. I bought it in Hollywood in a thrift store. I like to think a famous person used to wear it.”
Me: “It’s a nice coat. I bet someone famous used to own it. It looks good on you, though.”
He went on to tell me that he wants to be a good person, and that he tries to live his life with the morals that he learned from his grandma and great grandma.
Him: “People say that Oakland is a violent city, but I don’t think so.”
Me: “I don’t think so, either. I love Oakland.”
Him: “I think I’m a good person, because I love God. A lot of people say they love God, but they don’t practice what they preach. They don’t really love God.”
Me: “Amen. I wish more people tried to be good people.”
Him: “I just love God so much. You know that song, ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’?”
Me: “Of course I do. That’s Michael Jackson.”
Him: “That’s how I feel about God.” [starts singing] “I just can’t stop loving you. I just can’t stop loving you.”
So then I started singing with him
“I just can’t stop loving you. I just can’t stop loving you. And if I stop … Then tell me, just what will I do. Cuz I just can’t stop loving you.”
He smiled at me, and shook my hand.
Him: “You know your number is 3, right?”
Me: “Is it?”
Him: “Your number is 3. That’s the highest number.”
Me: “How does that work?”
Him: “3 gives off all the positive vibrations. There’s a light around you.”
Me: “That’s good to know. It makes me happy to think there’s a light around me. Thank you.”
At this point, the strap of my purse had fallen off my shoulder. He pushed it back up on my shoulder.
Him: “Be careful. Keep your bag close to you. … When is your birthday?”
Me: “October 2.”
Him: [his eyes got all big] “SEE?! October is 10. 1 + 0 + 2 = 3! 3!”
Me: “I guess I am a 3.”
When we rolled into the Embarcadero station he asked me my name.
Him: “Sonia, it was really good to meet you. Have a good night.”
Me: “It was really nice to meet you, too. Have a good night, sir.”
We shook hands, and he got off the train before I could ask him his name.