Originally posted 8/31/03, updated in 2007 and a couple of times since.
Can I get a little snippy here for a moment? Thanks.
Having never been a bus rider until I moved to Seattle a few years ago (since Phoenix’s bus system sucks), I’ve gotten used to hopping on Metro whenever I need to get somewhere and I’m too lazy to walk. After a few of years of this, I’ve noticed that bus riders can be put into two groups: 1) those who behave like adults and treat other passengers with respect, chatting quietly or minding their own business, and 2) everyone else. This irritating second group consists of people who seem to have only one function, as listed below. I have encountered all of these folks many times and it never ceases to amaze.
- The Compulsive Laptopper - Five seconds after they’re situated themselves in their seat, they’re unzipping/unbuttoning/ripping open their laptop bags and pulling out the ol’ workhorse. And no matter how bumpy or jerky the ride might be, they’ll insist on trying to get work done, even if it means correcting their typing 30 times a minute. No laptop is too large for the bus, either–if that 21″ screen actually has to rest on the leg of the person next to them, so be it! They’ve got pie charts to create, spreadsheets to edit, and emails to read, and it has to be done now! (Added 12/7/10)
- The Wide Stancer – You’ve seen this guy. He’s sittin’ there with his legs spread wide open, leaving little room for anyone to pass by, much less sit next to him. Usually he’s also slouching way down like he doesn’t have ass cheeks to hold him up. He couldn’t possibly close his legs, no! Why? Maybe he’s super, ginormously hung. Yeah, that must be it: he can’t sit comfortably with such an incredibly, mind-shatteringly huge penis without spreadin’ those legs alllll the way out. I actually like picking these guys to sit next to, because they look so irritated at having to bring their legs together to make room. Well excuuuuuse me, Your Hung Highness! Hopefully I’m not causing your staggeringly gargantuan junk too much trauma. *snort* (Added 12/7/10)
- The Bulldozer - Let’s say you’re standing in the aisle towards the back of the bus because there are no seats left. Then this woman gets on the bus and begins plowing her way to the back, right towards you. She’s looking behind you and can clearly see that there are no seats left–you can actually see this fact register on her face. Does she stop and grab a handrail? No, of course not–she insists on pushing past you anyway, making you cram yourself up against someone else so she can awkwardly stumble by. And does she end up standing and holding a handrail anyway? Of course she does. (I’m adding this because I encountered one today who would not rest until she had shoved me aside and reached the back of the bus. I made a huge show of my irritation since everyone else was watching us.) (added 9/17/10)
- The Front-Hanger – People standing at the front of the bus who, no matter how many others stream onto the bus, refuse to move back to make room. They absolutely insist on holding their spot, forcing everyone else to squeeze past them while they cling tightly to the straps and handlebars. What’s this all about? I don’t care if you’re getting off at the very next stop–move the hell back! Don’t become an obstacle to everyone else just to avoid having to walk a couple of extra feet. The only reason I can see for hanging around at the front is if you’re really short and need access to those lower handlebars. Other than that, it doesn’t make much sense. When I see people do this, I make sure they get intimately acquainted with my lumpy backpack as I scrape by.
- The Pre-Payer - People who insist on paying their fare while the bus is still blocks away from its next stop. This usually involves creeping forward into the cab, feet spread in order to keep from being slammed around, and with one hand wrapped around a handlebar, the other hand reaches precariously out to the pay slot to pay their fare. It can be a very tricky, laborious thing. What’s the big hurry? What’s wrong with paying as you exit? Oh, I see…you think you’re saving us all some valuable time. Yeah, those extra two seconds you saved made a huge difference. (By the way, I guarantee that these are the same people who insist on backing into every parking space they encounter, even if it takes them 10 minutes to do so, just so they can speedily drive away later.) I love it when one of these these people is in mid-reach and the bus driver hits the brake…he stumbles or goes lurching awkwardly up to the front. Ha! Dumbass.
- The Roadblock – These are the dorks who don’t seem to know how to move back when more people get on the bus. What, do you expect all 10 of those people to crowd around up in the cab? Move your ass back, make some room! (These differe from the Front-Hangers in that they are usually standing mid-bus and keeping others from reaching the empty spaces in the back. Yes, I have it all figured out.)
- The Me-Firster / Line Cutter – These nitwits always have to be the first ones to get on the bus, even when arriving at the bus stop 10 minutes after everyone else. They stand right on the curb and defend their territory to to the death, because if someone else gets on that bus first, it will shatter their entire universe. I’ve even seen one in particular rush past me while crossing the street just to be the first at the bus stop–she’s done it several times. And if a line has already formed, these people march right up to the front of the line like they’re specially entitled. Didn’t these twits learn how to stand in line in grade school? Or Kindergarten, perhaps? We’re all going to get on the bus, so just chill. Christ.
- The My-Seater – The guy who sits in the same exact seat every single day and gets visibly upset when someone beats him to it. It just ruins his day. People are such silly creatures of habit. I’ve seen the same people rush for the same seat dozens of times, which is why (if I’m able) I sometimes innocently plop myself down in “their” seat before they can get to it, just to keep them on their toes. Hey, variety is the spice of life and stuff.
- The Whiny Tourist – These people feel it’s their job to let EVERYONE on the bus know how long they waited for this bus, or how terrible the rain is, or whatever is irking them at the moment. Yeah, yeah, whatever…shaddap and siddown!
- The Glacial Payer – This is the lady who decides to start digging in her purse for her money and/or bus pass after the bus has stopped, making everyone behind her wait. This includes those who insist on paying their fare with every last nickel and dime lurking in the bottom of their pockets, each one dropped individually with agonizing slowness into the coin slot. People, get your shit together beforehand, OK?
- The Yappy Know-It-All - This dork loudly engages the driver in lengthy, detailed conversations, distracting the driver from other important things…like driving safely. These are almost always men. When he’s talking to a male driver, he’s trying to impress him with his vast knowledge of the local streets or some other thing. And I pity the female drivers who are chatted up by these yappy male passengers who are in full Alpha Male mode. God help us.
- The Seat Hoarder – People who want the row alllllll to themselves by sitting in the aisle seat, leaving the window seat empty so nobody else can get in. Better yet, they put their luggage/backpacks/laptops in the window seat like it’s their own personal luggage space. On a crowded bus, this behavior won’t earn you any new friends. Look…if you can’t stand having someone sit next to you, maybe you’d better just drive to work. This is why they call it public transportation. I once saw an old lady loudly tell some teenage girl to move over so she could sit down. Good for you, Granny!! Personally, if it’s a crowded bus and I see a Seat Hoarder, I immediately try to sit next to them. Once you begin to sit down, they move their crap real quick.
- The Standing Clueless – Standing passengers who don’t seem to realize that when the bus starts moving, they’d better be holding onto something. An amazing number of people fail to grasp this concept (and something to hold onto) and end up staggering when the bus lurches forward, often complaining that the driver is driving recklessly.
- The Rancid Unwashed – People who haven’t yet learned to shower, even though they’re fully capable of dressing themselves for work. And the rest of us suffer for it! Seattle is notorious for its filthy, stinky bus riders. For the sake of all around you, please wash yourself!!
- The Cellphone Blatherer - Morons yakking away loudly on their cellphones, oblivious to the fact that nobody on that bus wants to hear about their medical problems, their personal relationship with Jesus, how mean their stepmom is, what their 2008 budget projections are, or anything else they’re saying. I actually think that some people do it just for the attention. Hang up or get off!
- The Grand Inquisitor – This one won’t actually get on the bus. Instead he’ll linger on the first step and ask the driver when the #174 is coming by, or if he’s seen the #43 yet. AS IF these drivers keep track of hundreds of buses simultaneously running around the city, AS IF they know where each bus been and where they’re stopping next. Jesus, people, these aren’t human GPS units. Sometimes buses are late, sometimes they don’t show at all…no single driver knows why.
- The Raving Loonies – Disturbed guys who reek of alcohol and cigarettes, mumbling to themselves (most are in the Rancid Unwashed category as well). In Seattle, lots of these can be seen on those buses which run along 1st Ave. and just about any #7 bus headed up to Capitol Hill. I avoid these guys at all costs. Maybe they have places to go like anyone else, but what if the other guy inside his head wants to go somewhere else instead and starts getting abusive? I don’t want to be around for another argument like that.
- The Rampaging Spawn - Children who don’t behave. Yes, I know that kids are kids and are bound to make some noise, but please…if whoever is in charge of them can’t keep them under control, they really shouldn’t be traveling on Metro, especially in the morning when tempers are volatile and coffee hasn’t been had yet. Trust me, small bodies can be flung out of those skinny little bus windows without much trouble. So remember, all you parents and teachers in charge of entire classes which invade buses during the day: in any public place (such as grocery stores, libraries, or movie theaters), if you can’t control the spawn, please remove them.
- The Entertainer - These nimrods have their iPods cranked up so loud that the entire bus can hear what’s shrieking out of their headphones. Even better is when they decide to show us that they know all the words, like they’re trying out for some sort of public transportation American Idol. Hey, Mr. Up-And-Coming Rap Star: muzzle it!