Well played indeed!
I hope you don't mind me chiming in, but this reminded me of something very similar that happened to me, and I don't think I handled it nearly so well... sorry, it's a long story...
I was on the bus going home from work, and a young man got on and sat next to me. He seemed very agitated about something, and after a couple of minutes started talking at me.
We were on the bus for 40 minutes, and he did. not. stop. talking. once. He was from Bangladesh, and he chattered away at me about Bangladeshi cooking, Bangladeshi fish and other wildlife, the comparative merits of being chased by an Asian lion compared to an African lion, why male lions have manes, why some Muslim men should wear beards and others don't need to, why arranged marriages are much more convenient than dating
, the comparative merits of various religious beliefs...
He kept asking me what I thought. I did my best to beandip, but honestly, he wasn't listening to the answers.
It turned out that he worked for a Bangladeshi restaurant in one of the local villages. He usually worked in the kitchen, but because of a big event being held that night, he had been asked to work as a waiter. He had never done it before, and he was really really nervous (hence the speed-talking). In addition, there was no bus that went to the village he had to get to, so he was going to meet someone who would drive him the rest of the way. He was really concerned that the bus would be late and he'd miss his lift.
The problem was that he was going to get off in my village, and was actually going to meet the driver in my street
, and asked directions how to get there. I had deliberately not told him that I actually lived there, because he was behaving so oddly, and I knew that if I now disclosed that I actually lived on MyStreet, he would ask me why I hadn't said so earlier. And I really couldn't think of an appropriate answer.
So we got off the bus (all
the other passengers were giving me sympathetic grins, and I had to try really
hard not to laugh), and I told him how to get to MyStreet the usual way... and then ran off like a coward via the little-known short-cut to try to avoid bumping into him at the other end. I succeeded, fortunately.