In this case, the postman was eating a banana on the bus, and the woman was lecturing him for this. I'm afraid I can't recall her exact words, but she was going on at some length, and in some detail, on how generally reprehensible it was to eat bananas on the bus. Her general tenor and demeanor suggested that eating bananas on the bus was leading to the decline of civilization as we know it. I do remember that she remarked, "You think just because you wear a uniform, you can do anything?"
The postal worker did not say much in response to her: he was busy eating his banana.
I am predisposed to like this man; he's been friendly and good-natured.
However, I found myself wondering about the woman, and the relationship the two of them appear to have.
At first, I thought perhaps they really were friends, and her seeming tirades were, in fact, a running joke. But her tone has borne no hint of either irony or amusement. To all appearances that I can detect, she is sincere in her self-righteousness.
Given that she means her rebukes to be heartfelt, I had to wonder at the postal worker's continued attempts to be friendly. When a friendly overture is rebuffed, my natural inclination is either to give up, or to explain, if it appears my intent was misunderstood. The postman did neither: instead, he pursues the same course of action he might've had she smiled and been pleasant in return. That disconnect makes me think he is baiting her: he knows she thinks poorly of him, but he won't leave her alone anyway.
That conclusion made me re-think my predisposition to like him. After all, it is at least a little rude to continue to talk to someone who is so plainly signaling that she wishes to be left alone.
But -- even with that in mind -- I still find his unswerving good humor admirable. Perhaps it is a little unkind of him to bait the paper-reading lady.
But maybe the paper-reading lady really needs a little baiting. Perhaps, as Gen put it, he'll get a smile out of her, one of these days.