Tales from the Bus

18 Nov

Public transit is wearing me down.

As many of you know, the totaling of Dave’s and my car spewed us into the land of bipeds and buses until further notice.  That means that twice a day, every weekday, I am subjected to the anxieties and atrocities of the bus system.  I started out incredibly grateful for this mode of transportation, and I’m trying very, very hard to maintain that virginal appreciation.  But there are only so many times I can have someone else’s cell phone conversation blasted in my ear for the duration of my stay in the flying steel sardine can before I have to smack a ho.

Did I just say ‘smack a ho’?

I’m really sorry.  This whole bus system thing is just… It’s hard.  Okay?  It’s changing me.

I think the main problem is that I don’t like to be around people.  So putting me in a situation where my personal space is inevitably going to be violated well over fifteen times before I can get out of the situation is a recipe for disaster.  That, and I don’t like it when people’s leg fat smooshes up against mine.

You know? You know when you sit right beside someone on the bus or – worse, right in between two already-seated people- and your leg fat spreads out around your legs and touches that of those beside you?   I try to tense up my quadriceps to avoid it, but it’s a long way to work in the morning and you can’t expect someone who has leg fat to begin with to be able to maintain that kind of form.

Yesterday was particularly trying for me.  I intentionally waited until three buses went by after work so that I could get on a less

Absolute torture.

crowded one.   I got a totally awesome seat and let out a nice relaxing breath for my post-work commute only to be joined at the next stop by an enormous crowd of people who piled onto the bus for what I can only imagine was a just-announced carnival somewhere along the bus route.  Unfortunately the gentleman who settled to stand right in front of me smelled exactly like a portable toilet.

Exactly.  I could have bottled his skin dew and sold it to variety stores, it was so painfully accurate.

Just then, the woman somewhere to the back, left-hand side of me took a cell phone call that she felt absolutely no need to muffle her voice for.  I don’t mind when people talk on their phones on the bus so long as they’re as respectful as possible.  I like to assume that people would only make the choice to carry on a conversation if they really needed to or had a hard time getting in touch with that particular person.  But this lady was like, running a call center out of her bus seat.  She was putting people on hold, doing three way calls… she was tending to some incredibly important business regarding someone she lived with telling her how to run her life and her sentiments on that.

And the entire time I sat in my seat, trying to tune her out, trying to hold my breath from the toilet man, and telling myself: Don’t lose your shit, Jackie. Do not.  Lose.  Your shit.

I had to repeat this to myself under my breath as I stared at the stain-coated floor of the bus and dreamed of wide open spaces because it took everything in me to not give the call center lady a piece of my mind, the toilet man a power wash, and run rip-tearing through the swarm of people, throwing my sad slip of a ticket at the bus driver’s face, and pounding on the doors to please God let me out.

Man that was a long sentence.  Did you make it through all right?  You can go back and reread because I’m not going to fix it.  I refuse.

So anyway, I think I’ve reached my criminal limit.  That is, the amount of public transit I can stand before I do something criminal.  

I guess it’s a good thing the insurance check came this week. 


18 Responses to “Tales from the Bus”

  1. pegoleg November 18, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    What happened to the lovely rental car you hooked up with? I thought you were riding in style while repairs went forward. Here’s hoping a bus-free weekend chills you out a little.


    • Jackie November 22, 2011 at 12:03 am #

      It was only for 5 days. That was in the post, but you were probably getting a coffee.


  2. Katherine Gordy Levine November 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Traveling in a hoard is a test of any one’s Emotional Fitness. I arranged to work off peak hours which helped. I tried to remember how lucky I was to have a choice and I reminded myself when criminal assault entered my thoughts–Think a bus or subway bad; think prison–its much worse. Stay strong,


    • Jackie November 22, 2011 at 12:02 am #

      “Prison is worse. Prison is worse. Prison is worse.”

      I don’t know – I’ll try it. But that is a nasty stank up in there. Three words may not be a powerful enough mantra to ease the burden 🙂


  3. Jules November 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    A new signature scent. Portablé – Eau de Toilette. I can see the television ad… Chiseled man with dat jawline, walking on the beach with the sunset behind him. He makes eye contact with this equally attractive woman. He approaches… her eyes widen as he gets closer… she cringes and pinches her nose shut.

    Portablé. Guaranteed drive women — away!

    At Macy’s this holiday season.

    Anywhoo, just a quick tip for going batshit on the bus. Make sure you’re ready for physical contact and quite possibly a fight. The next time you feel like volcano-erupting, at least you’ll have to consider whether it’s worth the risk of losing a tooth.


    • Jackie November 22, 2011 at 12:00 am #

      He’s got to be one smelly guy to not even have the smell dampened by the breeze of a wide open space like the beach. That’s a powerful scent indeed – totally worth the money. Maybe if I use it, people will stay away from me on the ride 😉


  4. mistressofpoetry November 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    An Ipod or other musical device that you can plug into your ears would at least help with the woman on the cell phone. You could turn that up as loud as you wanted. And perhaps a face mask doused in a pleasant scent made from essential oils would help with the smelly guy. It would at least take you away from the situation a little while you had to ride. Escapism does wonders.


    • Jackie November 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

      I’ll bring an escapism tote full of your wondrous magic. It will turn the world of transportation upside down.


  5. JWo November 18, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Oh man… I swear I think I’d end up taking days off if I had to do that more than once.

    Maybe you could tell them you caught explosive diarrhea on the bus. Nobody questions explosive diarrhea.

    Just keep that in your pocket for Monday…

    Hang in there.


    • JWo November 18, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

      Hey Jackie,

      Check your stats… I pimped your post out on StumbleUpon’d and it’s got over 550 hits so far tonight!!!

      Great, now everyone will know bout my explosive diarrhea trick… haha…


      • Jackie November 21, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

        I wondered where that crazy ass spike came from. I’m so tickled! Thanks a lot for the pimping. I’ve never been so happy to be a ho.


    • Jackie November 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

      I’d think a claim like that would require evidence, no?


  6. sanetes November 19, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    I had to laugh about the leg fat thing. I’d just have moved away from the smelly guy. Breathing is essential to my well being, a nice seat is just an extra convenience.

    You’d learn to ignore people around you, if you had to use public transport more often, but fortuately you won’t have to do that. I hope you’ll have a nice car again soon!


    • Jackie November 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

      It was a sardine can in there – there was nowhere to move! The only way I’d have gotten out of there was to light myself on fire and run screaming for the driver.

      And it won’t be a nice car, but it will be a box with wheels. Compared to Port a Potty Man, that’ll do just fine 😉


  7. thesinglecell November 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    This whole thing made me shudder repeatedly. This is why I don’t do buses. This, and motion sickness. You are a better woman than I, Jackie.


    • Jackie November 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

      Was it the leg fat? Makes me shudder too. Golly I’m looking forward to having my own wheels again.


  8. egills November 21, 2011 at 5:12 am #

    I feel your pain, although thankfully I don’t do my commute by bus, oh no I go by train instead. We’re lucky to have a seat to sit in so leg fat isn’t an issue, what gets me is being crammed in like sardines and the person in front of me has a rucksack on… why can’t they take it off? I really don’t like being bashed every time the train judders 😦

    Hope your car issues get sorted soon.


    • Jackie November 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

      I looked up rucksack. You crazy Brits. What the hell are you saying?!

      Just kidding – I love your comments for that very reason. Sprog is my absolute favorite.


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