It’s all I can do to disguise my annoyance.
The bus is packed, truly packed, in a way that it rarely is. The seats are filled, the aisle is occupied, the space near the back door a tight squeeze. I note, briefly, that against the odds, those crammed near the back door are rather fit and don’t seem to be inconvenienced.
I had gotten one of the last few seats available two stops up, and for that, I was grateful.
But if I had it to do again, I’d pick differently.
Because the man seated next to me, the man with the window seat and the poor posture, cannot seem to keep his legs in front of him.
I frown in concentration. It is clear that he knows that he’s in my space. Within blocks, he has made two, three attempts at pulling himself together, but he gives up easily, and returns to checking his phone for texts.
I am a bit angry. I practice, inwardly, various configurations of “Hey, buddy! Move over!” None of them seem right. Plus – and I’m looking at him now – he doesn’t look like he speaks English.
“Then he’ll understand through your use of tone,” the short, bald guy in my head says.
Shoot. I thought I smelled cigarette smoke.
“Why is this so difficult?” I ask.
He shrugs, inhales deeply. He exhales, sending a trio of smoke rings northward.
My eyes water.
He nods agreeably, sure of himself. “Because you’re a chump,” he says. He shudders delicately, grinning, a display meant to mock. “And you don’t want to be mean.”
I frown. “You’re mean,” I say.
He points a heavy, thick finger at me. “Ah!,” he says. “I see what you did there.”
I turn away from him.
You don’t talk to the short, bald man in your head if you don’t want to get worked up.
And so I sit in silence, studiously listening to my iPod; and after a brief bombardment of thoughts on how very rude it is that my seat mate is taking up so much room on a public conveyance, I close my eyes and decide I will drop the subject.
The bus: getting all up in your head for more years than I care to count.