This is not what I was going to write about today. But this morning’s bus ride was a little more than I could bear.
Monday morning. I am (& I think most of us are) slow to wake up. I get on the bus at the beginning of the line and I have the bus to myself and get to pick my favorite seat. I’m don’t hog the seat. My bag is in my lap so someone can sit next to me. I read news and blogs or listen to music.
At the hour I catch the bus, we are all professionals and are clean and freshly pressed. The homeless and drunks are still snugly tucked wherever they’ve hidden for the night. Generally, whoever sits next to you isn’t offensive.
This morning an older gentleman sits down next to me. He’s not small but not really larger than average. But he doesn’t just sit down next to me, he snuggles in and takes up as much of his seat AND mine as he can. I wiggle in the extra 1/4″ I have to try and get away from him but the wall of the bus prevents me from going too far. Everything touches. I can’t move an iota w/o jabbing my elbow in his rib.
So distracted by his presence I finally put my reading down. This morning the bus is extra packed. It’s usually pretty full on a good day, but I consider this an extra opportunity to watch the people and their experience.
Which then make me wonder if he was a social scientist and was this his experiment to see how long it would take me to move or shift and squirm? His experiment was a rousing success for him. Dismal failure for me.
I don’t generally have too much of an issue w personal space until you fucking treat me like Santa and sit on my lap and expect me to share my seat.
I generally love my bus time. A quiet time for reading or zoning out. I honestly have never sat as close to a DATE as this strange man sat next to me. MAYBE that’s why I can’t get a date?! I need to sit on more strange men. Thought to ponder.
This entire experience has shadowed my day. My normal work day is spent answering stupid questions from stupid people. I’m told I am kind and genial and patient. I talk like I’m teaching kindergarten. Because I kinda am. I finally got a good, hearty laugh in with a customer when I clarified I understood their ridiculous question and they heard how absurd it actually sounded. That shook most of the strange man cooties off until I just walked out of the building for my lunchtime walk and left my sandwich sitting on my desk. Stupid old man.
After a walk in the fresh air my head is in a much better place. I’m certain the afternoon will be great!
11 thoughts on “Transit Rant: don’t stand so close to me”
Ha Ha…This make me think about a time when a very very large teen age boy sat down next to me on the bus and he had sooooooo much cologne on I could hardly breathe. I actually got a head ache.I will now have Sting stuck in my head all afternoon thanks to you!
I have on many occasions thrown open the window in the freezing winter when Mr or Mrs Cologne Hog has sat down near me. I can’t decide which is worse.
And I always wonder if people get my random one-liners. The Police are my all time favorite. That song was in my head all morning.
Elbows are good. I have found simply stiffening the shoulder and making the elbow slightly pointy gets the point across – then if the “invader” happens to get a poke in the ribs – their issue, not mine!
I didn’t even have room to give him a proper poke. When I backpacked through Europe after college, I got very good at the backpack bump when people got too close.
I know it wasn’t funny while it was happening, but the way you wrote it, cracked me up! I hope you don’t resort to lap sitting on a regular basis to get used to getting up close and personal with potential dates, LOL! Bet you just wanted to belt him one. Maybe next time, that would work, at least it would from your standpoint! Margie
If I EVER see him coming toward my seat again, my bag will drop in the seat next to me faster than you can say Boo! And if that doesn’t work I will belt him. Glad you got a good giggle. That makes me giggle 😀
Oh, hell, yeah! I have a great block with my wide-body. I usually don’t get a seat mate until the bus is standing-room-only. I also have the ol’ hankerchief trick. When the bus stops and they start parading on at the Barbur Station, I start blowing my nose or at least wiping it. Nobody wants to sit next to someone who looks like they might have a cold (least of all, me). I like it when a thin person comes and sits next to me so I don’t have to sit with my elbows drawn in, scrunched up against the sweating, wet window. I do have to say, as obnoxious as heavy perfumes are, it beats body odor any day! I have been known to get up and move, or even get off of the bus if the stench was too awful. =)
I have on several occasions gotten off the bus and waited for the next one or walked the rest of the way instead of putting up with whatever disgusting thing the city may offer. I think I’ll be packing a hanky from here on out. thanks for the tip!
Glad to help. =)
I’m grateful to bike to work. I used to love the idea of the bus but when I ride it’s smelly, hot and getting expensive.
My roommate in college used to pretend to have a seatmate and talk to said mate as the bus filled up. Usually worked too. I think she actually was crazy.
oooh- I like the crazy angle. I could so pull that off. talk about a good social experiment. of course this is Portland, folks may not be faking talking to themselves.