The bus: the great equalizer, a rolling Technicolor, scratch-and-sniff opportunity for either exploring your ability to accept what is or a chance to take notes with which to amuse yourself later.
Me? I do both, in varying percentages. Some days, I am almost smug with self-congratulations: Look at me! I’m saving gas! I’m reducing traffic congestion!
I’m SAVING THE WORLD!
And other days?
Look at me! I’m riding the bus with 40-some strangers, some of whom cough without covering their mouths! Look at me! Butts are getting wider, seats are getting smaller, and I’m sitting closer to this guy than I sit next to family!
Ah. My fellow commuters. Slightly gray-skinned in the early-morning light, some of us breathing through our mouths, eyes dull and vacant, the commute is both a chuckle and an opportunity for reflection. Look around you. If there were a world take-over by, say, zombies, this is where it would start: on the bus, where they’d go unnoticed for days and days…
“Beautiful day, huh? Whew! Looking forward to the weekend already!”
“Well, here’s my stop! Have a good one!”
Every now and then, I run on about the need for rules on the bus. Today is no different.
Pearl’s Rules for Riding the Bus:
1. If you did not buy a ticket for your groceries, gym bag, purse, they should not be occupying a seat, especially when people are standing. This kind of behavior will win you a reputation; and the “regulars” on the bus, in Minnesota fashion, will disapprove of you. Vehemently. Silently, but vehemently.
2. In the same vein, it’s quite clear, by the shape of the seats, where your butt goes and where my butt goes. Please respect my butt’s right to sit in its own seat by keeping your butt in yours.
3. Cell phone conversations should be brief and discreet. Your description of how much you drank last night and what it’s going to take to get that stain out of your carpet is, thankfully, none of my business…
4. Genitalia should never – and I can’t stress this enough – never be exposed on the bus. You know who you are, dude. That kind of thing ruins my day (but makes for excellent stories for my friends.) I am sorry to say that I was not able to pick you out from the six photos the police provided, but should they ever offer the photos that I will need to identify you…
5. If you end up standing because all the seats have been taken, please step to the back of the bus. Everyone standing at the front/next to the bus driver makes it difficult for those who get on after you to maneuver. Come toward the back. No one will bite you. Unless, of course, we’ve all turned into zombies, in which case, all I can say is “Braaaiiiiiinnnnnnnssss”.
6. Also related to standing in the aisles, if you could keep your backpack and/or your butt from hitting the head of the person on the aisle seat, that would be optimal.
So far, the Minneapolis Transit Authority has been resistant to posting these rules, but I remain hopeful. In the meantime, if we could all agree to keep our butts in our pants, on our seats, and out of each others’ faces, I think we’d all be better off.