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Bus Wackos

After several years as a devoted bus rider, I have actually allowed myself to get angry at some of the wackos that ride with me. Last night, I met Jeff down on the Plaza to see the new James Bond movie(which was excellent, by the way), and there were two wackos that really got on my nerves.

One of the wackos wasn't exactly persistent in being annoying, he was just very inconsiderate. He had sheets of paper and old bus transfers that as what I could only presume was a nervous habit, he would rip into tiny pieces and litter all over the floor where he sat. The other wacko had a trait in common with many other bus wackos I have encountered: he wanted to have a smalltalk conversation with unwilling fellow passengers.

Two thirds of the riders, including me, had headphones on and were avoiding explicit eye contact. This is a sure sign that they want to just quietly ride the bus and be left alone. But the wacko either didn't understand this or he didn't care. He had a very thick southern accent, and kept calling the black people, "homey." He further placed the onus on his fellow riders to instruct him which stop to use to get to St. Luke's Hospital.

"It's on 43rd," the driver helpfully said, acting above and beyond his own responsibility.

"You're gonna need to tell me. I don't know none of the streets 'round here."

"The audio system will announce 43rd when we get to it."

"You're gonna need to tell me. I don't know none of the streets 'round here."

He engaged the people around him in smalltalk, and like typical Midwesterners, nobody had the gumption to ignore him or tell him they don't want to talk to him. Midwesterners are too polite to strangers. When a street wacko hits up a Midwesterner for change, the Midwesterner says, "oh, I'm sorry. Can't help you,"(if they without change at all) instead of, "no. I don't want to give you any of my change."

The wacko strove for eye contact with anybody he could find, ignoring their explicit signs of their desire for peace and quiet. These are the same kind of wackos that want to have a conversation with you on a plane when you have a book open.

So, I hereby list my rules for riding the bus:

1) Get on in the front. Get off in the back.

2) If you're going to take a long time with payment(ie: you're paying with nickels, you want to haggle, you think you're entitled to a free ride because you're a veteran, etc), get on LAST.

3) Don't try to strike up conversations with people that don't want one.

4) On a crowded bus, your bag doesn't get its own seat.

5) Don't litter or smoke, and for God's sake, don't talk on the phone.

6) Don't be afraid to say hello to the driver. They like that.

7) Thank the driver as you get off. They like that too.

9:26 AM, Nov 20, 2006

2 comments

ralfonso cut in with:

"get offa my bus!" *shakes fist*

10:33 AM, Nov 20, 2006

Rachel replied:

Good work. How typical are folks in unnecessary wheelchairs in KC? They are all over Portland, you'll see people dragging their feet to move in a wheelchair pretty constantly. I'll spare you the further rant about perfectly able bodied kids my age that "spange," ask for spare change, or complain loudly when I don't give them cigarettes - why on EARTH is that considered free territory?

Okay! Done now.

12:56 PM, Nov 21, 2006

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