Wednesday, June 09, 2004

fun with public transportation... 

Buses, and their temporary denizens, can be most fascinating.

Recently, while riding one of my first buses of the day, my head was inclined downward, as it generally is while I'm reading. Through my headphones I heard a bit of a commotion. I looked up and noticed a fella, perhaps in his fifties, on the outside of the front of the momentarily halted bus, clearly visible through the windshield. As anyone who has ever seen a bus knows, the windshields are pretty far off the ground. Which meant that either the man was very tall or he was standing on the bike rack of the bus. My money was on the second option.

The bus driver slowly moved forward, pulling over to the side of the street. I watched in disbelief as the obviously disgruntled man climbed down from the bike rack and entered the bus, ranting and raving and throwing his plastic shopping bags on the seat opposite him.

"Oh no," I thought, "we're all dead now."

From what I could glean from his yelling and the bus driver's calm responses, the ranting man objected to the bus not waiting for him, despite the fact he was on the other side of the street from the bus stop and the driver did not see him there. Since I didn't recall the bus breaking suddenly, I can only surmise that the bus was stopped at a red light when HostileRider decided to climb up on the bike rack to get the driver's attention. Luckily he calmed down a little once he was actually inside the bus. And I had only two stops to go before my stop came up.

Later in the day, on my way to a BookCrossing meeting, I was sitting, calm as you please, reading and listening to music. I felt a presence and looked up. Next to my seat stood an older woman, perhaps in her seventies, whom I had seen sitting near the front of the bus earlier. She shakily reached out for the back of the seat in front of me, moved closer to me, and proceeded to try to climb over me, despite the completely open seat across the aisle and, oh, the fact I was sitting where she was trying to sit!

Because I was not in the mood to have her actually end up in my lap or step on my bare knees with her heeled pumps, I stood and moved as she pushed past me as if I didn't exist.

"Hey!" I yelled as she settled into the seat. "I was sitting there!" She may have glanced briefly at me, but she made no indication that she heard or understood me.

I sat rather huffily in the seat across the aisle and stared at her angrily, but she stared straight ahead, practicing the "if I don't look at you, you don't exist" method of ignoring me. Now, it is possible that her eyesight was so poor that she didn't see me, but surely she must have noticed my knees in her way as she tried to climb over me. Besides which, she boarded the bus at the same stop I did, and she seemed to see just fine then.

Finally I calmed myself down, thinking that she's probably just incredibly short on mental competence. It's the only explanation I can think of besides out-and-out rudeness. And while I know rudeness abounds in the real world, and I have no problem telling people when they're being rude, I thought it best to give ClimbingBitch the benefit of the doubt. I mean, how sad a life she must lead if my seat was so incredibly important to her that she had ignore any semblance of courtesy.

Ah, the joys of public transportation...

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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