Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"No Yelling on the Bus!"

For the last five months, my primary mode of transportation to work has been the city bus. Now, I know what you're thinking and I want to tell you that you are wrong, I do NOT clean houses for a living. Somehow, though, I still ride the bus to work.

The people who ride the bus are baffling. As are apartment people, for that matter. You see, when I moved to an apartment, I thought our neighbors would be paragons of civility. I mean, why would they be loud when they knew I could be loud in return? It seemed to me that house parties and loud sound systems were for houses; apartment people kept it down.

Of course, I was wrong. Dead wrong. Apartment people (and now I've discovered that the same holds true for townhouse people, as well) think more along the lines of, "If I'm as annoying as possible, I won't even notice your feeble attempts at annoyance." Thus the answer is not to keep the stereo turned down, but to get a stereo with a maximum volume higher than your neighbors, then turn that sucker up to eleven.

Well, bus people are the same. I thought there would be some sense of community, since I see these people every single day, twice a day, five times a week. Perhaps an acknowledgement, if nothing more than a nod. But the most regular riders on my bus (Number Six, Clockwise mornings, Counterclockwise evenings) intentionally avoid eye contact with me when waiting for, entering, riding on, or exiting the bus.

Although, by being a regular rider, I am something of an anomaly myself. Most people ride for a few weeks at a time, then never come back. There have only been two people who have been on the bus as frequently as I have for as long as I have: a guy with earrings and headphones who gets on at my stop and off a mile later, and a girl with a large mole on her forehead who gets on after him and stays on past my stop.

There was a regular rider, a woman with a purple scarf and knitted cap. She got on right before the earring guy got off. One day, though, I had to take our car in for service, so I drove to the station and dropped it off, then waited for the bus at the corner. Well, it was the corner where the woman with the purple hat got on. When she showed up at her stop, I was sitting there, reading a book. She was not on the bus for the next month, rode once more, saw I was still there, and has not been back since.

Riding the bus should be like a party! There are enough creeps and weirdos on the bus, anyway. I want the regulars to be friendly and the wack-jobs to keep quiet, but as soon as some regular thinks you might be stalking her, she starts carpooling or something.

And another thing: she might have been the cutest lady on the bus, but it doesn't take much to win THAT contest. I have better things to do with my time than to stalk marginally-attractive women. Like buying the biggest stereo I can find, one with specially-made knobs that register up to eleven.


Title from Billy Madison.

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