Public Transportation Vent

I know, I know, I’ve been gone for a long time. Things got busy, what with the Christmas season coming up. Then I got a little ill. Did you know you can have a partially collapsed lung that is also hyperinflated? Neither did I. I could’ve done with not finding that out on Christmas Eve day.


But here I am, back and writing. Not this time to write about how sweet, clever, or amazing my son is, though he is. Nor about how sweet, clever, or amazing Leif is, though he is.


No, I’m here to vent a little.


You  might already know this, but I’ve never owned a car. Ever. I’d like to say it’s a green thing. It’s not. In fact, I spent two mornings this week at a sustainability thing for the medical field, and when we were asked to give a ‘fun fact’ about ourselves in our introductions it never even occurred to me to toot my own horn, claiming to be a deity of green-ness in never owning a car. Because the shameful truth is that I want one. They’re just too expensive.


All of this to get around to here: I ride the bus a lot. It’s roughly an hour each way for work.  And I thought I’d share a few thoughts here.


Dab, don’t marinate.

As a general rule, if I can smell you from across the street, there is a problem. You might smell as sweet as roses, your cologne might cost $300 a small bottle, or you might not have showered in a week; it doesn’t matter. If I smell you before I see you, you stink. I don’t really want my hair to still smell like your perfume (or your arm pits) at noon, thanks. There is one gentleman whom I regularly encounter at the bus stop in the morning who I think sleeps in a tub filled with cologne. If he catches the bus before me (or who knows, maybe even the bus three before mine), I know he’s been there. I’ve considered not getting onto a bus with him, it’s so bad.


While we’re on stinky topics…

Okay, some people smoke. I understand that it’s a hard habit to break. And I understand that most people who smoke don’t really get that the rest of us think it stinks, and think it’s a health issue. But here’s a tip to try to ease the morning commute. Before you get on the bus, take a couple of deep breaths without the air passing through your cigarette. So often the bus pulls up to a stop, and someone is desperately sucking down the last couple gulps of their nic fix. Here we go, deeep inhalation, bus doors open and they get on. And then they exhale ghastly vile breath all over the first dozen people. Thaaaanks.


Even more on ghastly vile breath

A good rule of thumb is that if a total stranger offers you gum first thing in the morning, they aren’t doing it to be nice to you or to earn karma points. It’s for their own selfish but justifiable reasons. Take it. Chew it. Say thank you. Then as soon as you get to work, brush your teeth because it seems you forgot to this morning. (I’ll never forget a very long plane ride across the country, sitting next to a man with diaper breath. I tried everything but the truth to get him to accept a stick of gum, and he would not. So I always accept gum when offered. Always. )


Cold, wet puddles

Unless you’re jumping gleefully in them, cold wet puddles are not fun. Especially when they’re on a bus seat and you didn’t notice before you sat down. So let’s review umbrella etiquette. Two seconds in a typical Vancouver rain won’t make you melt. So take down your umbrella as the bus approaches your stop, and shake it. Away from others waiting. When you’re on the bus, carefully hold it so it doesn’t drip on the laps of everyone you walk past. Then as you sit down, set it on the floor. Where it won’t make anyone’s backsides wet (unless they slip and fall, but then hopefully it’s not your fault).


Have some courtesy about courtesy seating

There are people who can not stand on the bus. There are people who need the nearest seat to the door. There are people who are carrying fragile small people. If you are young and able to stand, let these people have a seat. To be honest, I think this goes anywhere on the bus, but the courtesy seats at the front of the bus are theirs, not yours. Even more so, there’s one seat in particular that, if you are sitting in it, you’d better keep your eyes peeled – that’s the one right next to the door. Needing to study for a test doesn’t mean you’re needing those seats more than a woman on crutches. Just because you didn’t get to bed early enough last night doesn’t mean you can snore in the seat next to the door while the gentleman with shaky hands and difficulties walking shuffles past you.


Speaking of snoring

No, I am not a pillow.  It might still be dark out, but GET OFF OF ME.


I get it. Some people just have to carry more stuff than others. Backpacks, shopping bags, briefcases, lunch bags, it can be a little much to control. I do get it. But really, if the bus is full, who are you to be taking up a seat with your bags? Put them on your lap, or at your feet, or heck, balanced on your head if you must, and let someone sit down. Oh, and let’s not forget the other type of, erm, ‘package’. Seriously, if you are physically incapable of sitting with your knees less than a foot apart, (thus meaning you take up two seats’ worth of space) gentlemen, you need to see a doctor. Put your knees together, get your elbow off the seat back, and let me sit down.



Okay, I feel a little bit better now. At least until tomorrow, when yet again, I’ll be on a bus with other tired people, wet umbrellas, and far too much cologne. Maybe when Cameron starts kindergarten I’ll be able to afford a car.


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