Monday, February 8, 2010
I like the earth. I like breathing clean air. I turn off lights when I leave the room, I recycle, I don't let the water run when I'm brushing my teeth, I use cloth bags at the grocery store. I try to avoid being too terribly trendy about it, but sometimes I just can't help myself. And I take a lot of public transportation. Now, this has less to do with being a thoughtful environmentalist, and much more to do with being someone without a driver's license. (Yes, seriously. No, I've never had one. Yes, I will get one eventually. Yes, it annoys my husband on occasion. Any other questions?) But the benefits to the environment and the economy are the same, whatever my reasons.
There are lots of other reasons I enjoy taking the bus to and from work. It gives me time to catch up on my reading, for example. And podcasts! Riding the bus is about the only time I can concentrate enough to really enjoy podcasts. Plus, A+ people-watching, no stress about traffic or other drivers, and plenty of time to do some quality staring-into-space. Yes, it takes me longer to get places, and I'm at the whim of schedule changes, but overall, I really don't mind it. What I do mind? Assholes. And yes, there are assholes everywhere. You have to deal with them on the road (I have some backseat road rage of my own), and I have to deal with them on the bus. So Don't Be An Asshole On Public Transportation, yet another thing we thought we wouldn't have to say, but apparently we do.
I know how important you are, Jackasses On The Bus/Subway/Train/Lightrail. You are so important that it is impossible for you to hang up your cell phone and move your ass out of the way when there are not one, but TWO people in wheelchairs trying to get on the bus and settled into the very small and limited space that they have. You are so important that, even though the hand rails are FOR EVERYONE, you must give people like Brownie the stink-eye when they try to share one with you while attempting to not fall on their face. You are so important that you have to lay your briefcase and coat over the handicapped seats next to you so you can have both hands free for your PDA, moving them only when a seven-months-pregnant Daisy - after walking halfway down the aisle and back - shames you in front of an entire busload of people. You're also the person who chats loudly on their phone for the entire 40-minute ride while the rest of us bond together in hatred through eye rolls and head-shaking. You're the one who sits directly in the middle of the two seats and scoffs when someone asks you to move, the one who clips your fingernails, flosses your teeth (alas, I shit you not, dear Reader), and listens to terrible music loudly enough for us to hear it (and then judge you). You're the one who smacks me in the face with your messenger bag and doesn't apologize, making the HIGH SCHOOL KID standing in front of you look like the mature one when he steps on my foot, says he's sorry, and calls me m'am. (Okay, that last part made me wince, but the rest restored my faith in The Children, albeit briefly.)
So the next time you decide that it is imperative that you do personal grooming, eat a three-course meal, take long and involved phone calls, or enforce your personal space (while encroaching on others') on a vehicle of public transport, remember that this is not your car. Nor is it your office, your bathroom, your bedroom or your kitchen, and the people around you are not your close friends or your family, your doctor, or your waitstaff. We're just minding our own business, trying to get to work, to school, to appointments or to somewhere actually fun, and we'd prefer to do it in peace. There are some really basic rules of conduct for existing in public - let the pregnant ladies, the old folks, and the disabled sit in the seats that were meant for them; get out of the way when people are getting on or off a bus; and keep your damn voice down. And when you get so pleased with yourself and how awesome your life is that you forget those things (hey, congrats!), just stop, think about the fact that you are not a special snowflake to the rest of society, and don't be rude.