My best friend, Tracey, recommended a couple of weeks ago that I apply to write for Examiner.com as one of their restaurant reviewers. I was dismayed to find that they weren’t hiring any more food types, but they were looking for articles about public transportation, which I ride every day in the city where it’s most necessary.
I didn’t know if my stories about kneeing old men in the groin to make sure I get into a crowded train were what they were looking for, but I gave it a go, and they actually liked me. Here’s the article I posted today:
Every bus stop has its own special asshole, but I think mine should get a crown for his assholiness.
Whenever there’s someone running from the very end of the waiting line to be first at the bus’s door . . .
Whenever there’s someone racing to get a seat on the bench to ensure some old lady can’t . . .
Whenever there’s someone rushing from the bench to the edge of the sidewalk the second the bus comes into view . . .
I sort of feel sorry for him. He’s a nondescript man of a nondescript age in a city where being descript is the only way to not get lost in the throng. He cuts his hair not to be stylish but to be practical. He wears modern shoes but pairs them with pleated pants rolled up at the hem. He’s not thirty but not fifty, not attractive but not deformed.
It seems that his only goal in life is to get one of the single seats that lines the driver’s side of any bus. And it’s widely recognized that those single seats are where it’s at–you can let your love handles spill off the side without anyone complaining, and you don’t have to deal with anyone else’s love handles spilling all over you. I don’t hate him for liking that.
What I DO hate him for is being audible about his disgust for the rest of us during the ride. After living here for a few years, I’m used to crazy people talking to themselves about pills and Jesus and the white man keeping them down, but I’m not used to people groaning about
• how annoying being stopped at a red light is.
• how they wish the bus driver would hit pedestrians in the crosswalk.
• how disabled people shouldn’t be allowed on the bus because they take too long to board.
There’s more to life for me than sitting by myself, so being polite to those waiting for the bus with me is worth it even if it means missing out on a single seat. Sometimes my waiting gets rewarded, though, and I end up with a single seat, anyway. Like this morning, when I struggled on with a huge bag and was delighted to see that I could slide right into the second single seat back.
I didn’t notice, but the jerk behind me had his foot stuck way out into the aisle, so of course I accidentally stepped on it. I immediately turned around with a genuine, “I’m sorry!”, and who was it but The Guy. He said, “Oh, God,” in his most perturbed voice, so I said mockingly, “Oh, Jesus, sweet Lord, she stepped on my unfashionable shoes, and I simply don’t know how I’m going to make it through the day!”
I sort of expected him to pull my hair or flick my ear or something, but no such luck. He just sat quietly throughout the remainder of our time together and then checked out my rack when I got up at my stop.
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