"Excuse me, miss…"
He's proffering something, a small pamphlet barely larger than a business card, so I take it. It's a reflex, nothing more; I don't look at what he's given me.
It's in the same manner — a reflex, nothing more — that he adds, "You look like you've been miserable lately."
This, I think, is presumptuous, even for a standard marketing hook. I am, after all, sitting at a tram stop on Bourke St, temporarily alone, surrounded by strangers. Supine on the seat behind me is a resident loon of some description, gesticulating and ranting to whatever angels or demons happen to be keeping him company at this point. I rather suspect if anything is written across my face, it is boredom.
But he is young — I doubt he's old enough to shave, there's barely any fuzz let alone the stubble which (perhaps) lurks in his distant future. He has not yet learnt the language of nuance, and how to alter his pitch to his audience, otherwise he wouldn't be using a standard line, or at the very least he wouldn't be delivering it in such a hesitant manner.
So I say nothing. Although I do meet his gaze and lift an eyebrow, a challenge that makes him blush and stammer and hurry away.
At the next seat he hesitates, obviously questioning the wisdom of giving the booklet and spiel to the loon. Perhaps the loon looks too fierce — or I don't know, maybe the loon doesn't look like he's been miserable lately.