Nice Lady

Nice Lady is a daily rider on my morning bus. She, by turns, either irritates or pleases me enormously. It all depends on how tired I happen to be at 7:35am when she gets on board and sits down. If I’m in a good mood, I’m happy to be seated near Nice Lady, where I can listen to her talk to fellow passengers and offer to hold the bags of anybody who ends up having to stand in the aisle when there are no seats left (Nice Lady’s favorite thing to do, despite the fact no one ever takes her up on the offer). On mornings when I’m tired, however, I try to get a seat in the back of the bus instead, preferably next to Sullen Teenager, who is far less likely to try to engage me in conversation.

This morning, Nice Lady cracked a relatively funny joke and everybody laughed out loud, including me. Even Sullen Teenager, who is usually tuned out in the back seat with headphones blasting, cracked a little smile. Was it a joke worthy of an LOL? Probably not. However, it was one of those odd mornings when everybody on the bus was in an exceedingly and inexplicable good mood. I can never figure these mornings out — they are as likely to occur on a Monday as any other day, a day when you’d think most people would be ill-tempered. And today, we were all abounce with joy, despite the fact we were crammed to the gills with twice the usual number of passengers, due to an earlier bus that went MIA.

In the afternoons, a crammed bus is, in short, a recipe for disaster. You want to know what Road Rage is truly like? Get on my single-length afternoon bus on a rainy evening and watch the competition for Most Emotive Scowl begin. But for some reason, a crowded bus in the morning is usually no big thing. Maybe it’s because nobody is in a hurry to get to work, the way they are in the evenings to get home. Maybe it’s because we’re all fresh from our breakfasts and coffee pots, instead of exhausted from hours spent at our desks. I don’t know. All I know is that mornings on the bus like this morning always leave me slightly confused and pleased. It’s not a bad way to start a day, in other words. I don’t get it. But I think I kinda like it.

p.s. Confidential to Nice Lady: Thanks for offering to hold my bag this morning. If not for the fact it weighed about 87 pounds and I was afraid it would crush you, I would’ve taken you up on the offer, just to make your day.

The Guy I Hated on the Bus This Morning

You know what one of my big pet peeves on the bus is? It’s the guy who, when the bus hits “standing room only” status, thinks it’s okay for him to stand in the stairwell for the back door. Sure, this is a comfortable place to be — you can lean back against the sides of the stairwell there and can keep your balance pretty easily. I get it. I really do. And, actually, this is an okay place to stand as long as you are being HYPER-aware of the passengers around you — especially the ones, like me, who are about to get off the bus. But you can’t just plant yourself in there and not pay attention. Not unless you want to incur my wrath, Rude Boy.

When the little *ding* rings, the one that means someone wants the next stop, you need to move yourself out of the way so that I can use that stairwell. You need to do it well in advance of that stop, so that you do not delay me. If the bus is really, really crowded, of course, this is going to be next to impossible because there won’t be anywhere for you to go. In that case, you are an ass for standing in the stairwell to begin with, because, well, what were you thinking would happen when someone needed to leave via that door? Were you thinking we knew some “Crouching Tiger” move that would send us gracefully flying over your head and out onto the sidewalk? Because, though I am lovely and smoothly-shaped, I am not a CGI-enhanced special effect. Much as I would sincerely love to be.

If it was the very last spot to stand on the most crowded bus in bus-crowd history, then, okay, I can see the need to stand there. In that case, however, please take note: what you need to do when it’s time for me to get off is NOT attempt to flatten yourself to make room for me to squeeze by, because there isn’t room for two people in that stairwell. And if I have to try to slink by you and your massively oversized, SUV of a backpack, I’m going to get peevish. No, what you need to do — listen up! — is GET OFF the bus, wait for me to get off myself, and then get back on and continue to occupy your ridiculous amount of space.

You, guy who was in the stairwell this morning with your iPod in your ears, your complete lack of fellow-passenger awareness, and your gigantic backpack? I hate you. And the same goes for you, guy who was standing behind him with your iPod in YOUR ears who also wasn’t paying any attention to the fact people needed to GET THE HELL OFF THE BUS. MOVE IT, PEOPLE! MOVE IT!

Thank you, and welcome to Metro Confidential.