Commuter Bus Blues

Can I get a window seat… to myself please? Photo by  Dustin Tramel  on  Unsplash

Can I get a window seat… to myself please? Photo by Dustin Tramel on Unsplash

Sometimes I'm convinced my life is an endless episode of Candid Camera or I'm stuck in my own version of The Truman Show!! Either that or I wear a sign on my forehead... Stick around and you'll see what I mean. Since I've moved back home, and started working, I've been taking commuter bus in to work because there's no real public transportation out where we are. The commuter bus community is interesting. While you don't want to begrude anyone a seat or the ability to get to work on time, the ideal is to have a seat to yourself. For me the holidays were lovely because I basically had a seat to myself everyday. However, now that folks are back to work...

Like last night, I sat with this woman. She was wearing a strong perfume from back in the day like Jean Nate or Windsong or something like that. She sat down - she actually sat down on me at first, but I digress - and instantly I had a headache and I was literally breathing her perfume. By the time I got off the bus I smelled like it to, which was upsetting, but that's not the best part. The ride is usually quiet and the passengers normally sleep, so my seat mate fell asleep. No biggie except she kept jerking in her sleep and every time she did, I got poked in the ribs! (Are you starting to see what I mean now?) So the whole ride home just when I would hit that place where I was about to drift off I'd get poked!

This is the type of thing I experience all the time. Like the time on the way in to work (6:15 in the morning) when someone in the seat behind me had the sniffles. Again no biggie except that every time I got close to sleep it sounded like the person leaned forward and sniffed directly in my ear! Now maybe I was just extra sensitive to sound that day or something, but I would have put money on the fact that this person was leaning forward every time so he could sniff in my ear. It made me a little crazy. So much so that a couple of times I tried to catch him out of the corner of my eye. Never did. Caught a good stiff neck though... Another time on the way home, two women - one very loud one with a Caribbean accent and her friend - talked at great length and detail about "I Love New York" for the entire trip! Are you kidding me? Can you say YUCK? Everyone on the bus was disgusted so it wasn't just me this time. Then there was the man who called his wife on speaker phone and had it up so loud is sounded like she was on the bus with us! As a quiet person by nature who is NOT a morning person, this kind of stuff has the potential to take me over the edge.

By far the best/worst incident of all happened one morning a few weeks ago. This time a man sat with me and I guess it's a guy thing, but he took up a lot of space. I was tired and just wanted to sleep until my stop, but dude was so fidgety! All of a sudden he stands up in the aisle and takes off his big leather coat revealing a booger green suit - but I digress again... and I'm thinking, "Ohhh, maybe he was just hot.". He fell asleep which was good because he was FINALLY still, but then he spread out even more. So now I'm pasted to the window and just trying to maintain a good attitude... I finally found a semi-comfortable spot and I was drifting into sleep when this joker taps me on the shoulder and asks if the bathroom on the bus was open. WHAT?! My inner voice said, "How the heck do I know? Do I look like a transit employee to you?!! I'm sitting on this bus just like you, man!" But to him I said, "Yes, I think so." So he went to the back and I didn't see him for like 15 minutes (I'll leave that alone). While he was 'away' I took the opportunity to shift to a better position and I fell asleep (it never takes me long to fall asleep). He comes back and immediately falls asleep too - which was good until he started spreading out again and snoring to beat the band. Unbelievable! By now I'm on the verge of tears! After 35 more minutes of him snoring and me praying "why Lord?", we finally got to my stop. HE seemed a little miffed at ME because I had to wake him up and let me out. Ain't that nothing? I don't think I've ever been so glad to get off a bus in my life. I practically skipped all the way to my building!

It's not always the passengers either. There's a bus driver who I make a point NOT to ride with. The first time the bus jerked, I felt my heart in my throat. The whole ride was like that, but after that first one I don't think I blinked the rest of the way. I found out AFTER that frightening trip home that the driver also works graveyard shift at the Post Office, so the jerking is not because of traffic, it's cause HE FALLS ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL SOMETIMES!!!! Seriously?!!! Well, you'd best believe my mother's daughter won't be on his bus again even if it means getting home a little later. And that's all I have to say about that!

So that's a glimpse into my morning and evening commutes. Hopefully now you see why I said the Candid Camera/Truman Show thing. Ok Alan Funt or Ashton, you got me! You can pop out anytime now...