Sociophobics do not belong on public transit

I'm terrified of other people. I seem to handle myself rather well in a retail setting, probably because I don't have to say much, and the customers almost never stay terribly long... there's the odd situation where my awkwardness leaps out of my mouth like a retarded alien from a spoof of some well respected horror movie, and often this awkwardness is brought on by something strange the customer said that I couldn't react to, but then the customer gives me a weird look, waggles her metallic blue eyebrows at me, and eventually leaves.

But I have to take the bus to work, and the bus is ALWAYS packed full to the brim because it goes to the university campus. One of my jobs is on the campus, the other two are down the hill from in and right next to each other) and this is the only bus that goes by my house and will take me to work. There's always some pretty messed up characters on the bus. Commando duckface guy whose fly is always down, postal texter guy who talks to his bros about killing everyone on campus, the group of warcraft dorks, and of course the usual risks of public transit. Imagine 100 people at least sardine packed into a bus meant to accommodate 75 (give or take) and you've got my daily commute to/from work.

There are 4 major classifications of riding the sardine bus

1. Standing room only.

In this situation, your stop was too late on the route to obtain a seat, and your only option is to stand. With each sharp turn, you risk throwing yourself uncomfortably into some strange person, so ideally you want to hold on to a hand rail or one of the weird plastic rings that sometimes hang off the bars above you. Rarely can you reach the cord to request a stop, or barely breathe. You risk being molested, or pick-pocketed, or breathed on. Generally buses packed full in the morning reek of morning breath anyway, this one is unavoidable.

2. The "Trap" seat.

Say you're lucky and you manage to snap up a window seat before the bus fills itself up. Somebody will eventually have to sit next to you. Maybe they'll try to talk to you even though you've got headphones on or you're pretending to be asleep. Maybe they just want to get from point A to point B like everybody else. None of that matters when the bus is packed tight and it comes time for you to get off. You climb over the person sitting next to you and force your way through a sea of undergrads, but it took too long to escape the trap seat, and the bus is already moving again. Now you no longer have a seat, but are now drowning in a sea of pretentious university students. You have failed at surviving on the bus.

3. The "Reverse Trap" seat.

The reverse trap seat (generally known as the aisle seat) is not just a physical trap, but a mental trap as well. The seat tricks you into thinking that you've cleverly avoided the trap seat, but still have the comfort of sitting on the bus. You think you can easily escape when your stop comes up, but the reverse trap seat is basically a minimum security prison. All in all, the trap seat is probably the safer option, because the poor fucker trapped in the aisle acts as a barrier between you and all the riders packing themselves tighter and tighter. If you find yourself stuck in the aisle trap seat, be prepared to defend yourself from stray elbows, book bags, spilled coffee, and falling bodies. Most don't escape the reverse trap seat without some of facial bruise or third degree liquid burn. Unless you escape unharmed, once again you have failed.

4. The Unofficial "Safety" seat

This seat is not a real seat, and thus, unless the bus is PACKED, the driver will never let you sit there. Usually the smart person will enter the sardine bus, and upon seeing the unofficial safety seat, immediately crawl into it. The seat is actually the boxed off area over where the front wheels are, and there's a box that the drivers keep their playboys in or something. They hate when people sit there, but are okay with people throwing their shit up there for some reason that I don't really understand. But it's the safest seat in the world: close to the front exit, nobody can sit beside you, and you are a relatively safe personal distance from the sea in general.

OBTAIN THIS SEAT AT ALL COSTS. The average rider is terrified of bus drivers and will risk their personal safety and comfort, but you, YOU are a fucking survivor. You want the safety seat and you're going to do whatever it takes to survive.

1 comment:

Crazy Newt said...

I find the trick to surviving on the super crowded busses is to frown. Like, super heavily - like you're the frontman in a rap band or something.

Also, to move through the crowds, put your hand where you want to go. People will part like it's the red sea, lest they touch your hand. If people don't get out of my way, I'm the perfect situation to elbow them.