Unfortuante bus experiences and passivity…

February 16, 2006 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment

While I hold the bus system in my city in high regard, most of the time I bite my tongue in order to give my present self something to hope for in the future. I have long wanted to document the development and continuing evolution of the transport system because

a) public transit is a necessary option in a democratic society (or in any society, to be honest – the UN declaration of human rights states that every person has freedom of mobility, and although begin able to take a bus from your house to Wal-Mart is a small task, it is in society’s best interest to allow for this mobility – but does anyone really follow these rights? I’ll get into that some other day…)

b) It is a more environmentally friendly alternative to automobiles and should be encouraged

c) Due to its importance, I think people ought to know what it takes to keep this system, which is one of the best *bus* systems in the world, running

d) I have not driven in five years and rely on it

e) I think I could bat my eyelashes and get a chance to try to drive one of these babies. Because I want access to the system when I get to the stage where this can happen, I keep quiet about everything I absolutely HATE about buses.

Today, just like everyday, I take the bus home from school. Today, just like everyday, the bus for this particular route is NOT articulated, meaning it isn’t two buses joined by an accordian-type joint. These buses are great. The layout is pretty good as far as bus design goes, and they look like giant bend-y straws.

This bus route is a busy one. It usually is. And they did, at one point, run articulated buses all the time. Now, not. This route, this very heavily trodden route, is serviced with this new design; it’s short, has no standing room, and very few seats. How they managed to waste what seems like roomy dimensions on every other bus, I don’t know. This is one of the most poorly designed buses I’ve ever had to ride. Now, initially it was exciting, because the back door lifts away from the side and runs on a track parallel to the windows, like a van door. It is triggered by a bar next to the door, and kind of reminds me of a space shuttle. Even has that cool *KUSHHSSssssss* sound (like smoke should come pouring out and when you step outside you’re dressed in a silver foil costume with a fish bowl on your head. And then you realize you’re in the suburbs and you think “might as well be mars”). But the poor layout really takes away from the neat-o! effect the bus once had.

Now, I’m a nice person. I don’t like to be rude (unless you cross me, please see the “open letter to recreational walkers” if you need specifics). It makes me feel bad when I become annoyed with things that are, for the most part, beyond one’s control.

I’d like to lose ten pounds. I have since going back to school; yes, I did gain a “freshman 15”, but that last five would keep me from looking annorexic. Anyway, the point is, I don’t take up much space. I’m not 90 pounds, but I don’t take up much space, and I don’t go out of my way to try to. So when I’m sitting there, I don’t care if someone sits next to me, because I’m taking up less space than my seat allocates, so I’m all right. No intrusion wil occur, at least on my part.

No, the gentleman who sat next to me was not as bad as Ignatius J. Reilly. If you don’t get it, look it up. No, not that bad. But not far off. And I know people who will get up and move if a person with a particular odor sits next to them, or if the person takes up an undemocratic amount of space. Honestly, I think that is rude. As rude as having a strange smell, perhaps not. It’s all relative. Considering the combined size of the two seats, the size of myself, and the size of this gentleman, there was some squeezing happening, and it seemed to be more my problem than his. On top of that, I felt really odd about having to turn my head to purposely smell the hair of the girl in a near by seat to keep from becoming passive agressive.

On several occasions, once the crowd of the bus had subsided, there would be an opportunity for this gentleman to change locals, someplace a little more his size. Yes, I could have moved, but I didn’t for two reasons:

First, I believe that the person new to the seating environment is the one who must move when seats become free. This concept is the very thing that gave me (and a former friend, she won’t be cashing in on this idea) the drive to film a project about the bus system (it was originally supposed to be a piece that outlined bus etiquette). I’m a little on the stubborn side, but just a bit.

The second reason for not moving was that it would have been awkward. I wanted to avoid falling on the guy if the bus jerked (no hand rails at the back? Who designed this bus, a monkey?), and, to be honest, I was really wedged in there. And I felt bad. Yes, I did avoid potientially hurting a perfect strangers feelings by sucking it up next to the smell. Perfect word choice, too. Cause I’m a sucker. I know I am. I’m totally passive, and even though there are things I would like to do in such situations, and that I would write a character in a film to do, I never budge. It’s almost like stage-fright, this fear of altercations. Is that stupid, or is that good or what? When I was on a run the other day, and a girl wouldn’t move out of my way, I hit her with my arm, or sort of ran into her. It wasn’t as dramatic as I said it would be, and I was disapointed by that. I could have clothes-lined her. I actually wanted too, but I didn’t. Did call her a cunt over Emily’s shouting Dead Disco, but I was still totally passive agressive about the situation. It scares me to think what society would be like if everyone acted on the instincts that I have. The characters I write (ie, the ones in my head) are funny, outspoken, stand up for themselves, and are generally nice, but man can they be assholes.

So, after all that, the moral is three-fold:
1. Articulated buses should be used for high traffic routes, not, say, a bus nobody ever rides. Or, I don’t know, how about the scheduling systems takes into account high traffic times during the day, and articulated buses are distributed accordingly. Putting that many people into a room would be a fire hazard. Then, consider taking such a room, putting it on wheels, and sending it down a highway at 120km/h. How is this allowed by law?

2. Okay, people spend most of the time thinking about themselves, completely ignoring their surroundings because we are all, in a way, narcissistic. But please, just because it is called public transit does not mean that etiquette must go out the window. How can so many people be so polite at the dinner table or at a party, and ignore simple considerations when galavanting about society? You can’t put a square peg in a round hole, so perhaps it is just better to stand on the bus. That’s a decision I make regularly, since I know what it’s like to be sat on by someone because her spatial perception was a little off.

3. Aw, fuck. I typed so much in the first two, I’ve totally forgotten the third. Probably something about me being more assertive or whatever.


Entry filed under: , rants.

An open letter to recreational walkers… “there is green stuff floating in that glass of water…i’m assuming it’s yours?” set the mood: Rocky Racoon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Recent Posts

February 2006
    Mar »

%d bloggers like this: