Bus Bitches

I know, I know.  I write a lot about the buses in Seattle.

But considering I spend at least an hour a day on them, it takes up a significant portion of my life.  Five hours each week if I just include travel time to work. More if I head somewhere on the weekend. That adds up to a significant amount of weirdness.

I frequently get frustrated because the buses are always late.  But there are a million factors that make a difference, including the unpredictable traffic in Seattle.

So after waiting an extra ten minutes because my bus was running late one morning, as usual, I got on board and settled in, sitting down and cracking open a book.  I’ve decided bus time is the prime time to catch up on some reading or do something semi-productive if I’m spending 5 hours a week on this thing.

There was a couple sitting two seats in front of me.  He sat with his arm around her whispering into her ear.

I was trying to mind my own business, but was distracted by the giggles and then the two making out.

It was about 7.30 am and I was still waiting for my coffee to kick in, so it all felt rather excessive.

That and the fact that the bus is my nightmare:  it’s a germ infested moving box.

I always check to make sure that there is no mystery liquid or stain on my seat before I sit down.  

I bring hand sanitizer for the second I get off the bus to cleanse myself of any kind of germ I might have interacted with.  I make an effort not to touch anything, but I’m still convinced in the 30 minutes I sit there some kind of organism must have crawled on to me and multiplied.

I hope that I don’t contract lice from someone who might have sat down before me.

Frequently there is a smell that seems to come from nowhere, that then permeates the enclosed metal tube we as passengers are all trapped in, gasping for air.

So for these two to find it romantic, well, that was beyond something I could comprehend.

Later in the week, my bus got stuck for 30 minutes in the same spot because of a Mercedes parked in the way that the driver was worried he would hit.

It took some random pedestrians to stop and direct traffic (which was now at a standstill because we were blocking both lanes) and help him back up without hitting the parked car.

It was all too stressful for me, but how else was I going to get home?  Call an Uber? It couldn’t even make it to me in the traffic jam that we were causing.

Anxiety was getting the best of people, and many got up and walked off of the bus.  I stayed because I honestly didn’t see another option, while panic set in with the bus driver.

I opened my book and kept reading, silently praying that we didn’t hit the car because then I wouldn’t make it home for a long time.

As he started to back up, another passenger got up and started pacing around, looking out the window at the car and congratulating the driver for not hitting it.

I wondered why he thought this would be helpful when essentially standing up and moving around while you’re running a 50/50 shot of hitting a car seemed like an idiotic move to me.  As well as getting directly in the line of sight of the driver.

But we made it.  No accident. All of us in one piece.

I wondered if this is what happens when I’m fuming wondering what is causing the bus to be late.  When the passengers at the next stop got on, I wanted to say, “You don’t even know the level of drama you missed.”

On Friday I decided to grab a drink and work on my skeeball game, now that the new season of our skeeball league is starting in a few weeks.

When I left, I gave myself a 6 minute window to walk a block and catch my bus home.

I moseyed in the sunny weather, soaking it all up when I reached the stop light and saw my bus arriving in front of me, 5 minutes early, which was completely unheard of.

“Well SHIIIIIIIIT!”  I yelled, panicking and screaming more profanity as I waited for traffic to clear so I could jaywalk (or jayrun) across the road to try to make it on board.

I sprinted across the road, and as I tried to make it to the bus doors before they closed I heard some man yell, “Oh, we’ve got a runner.”

I wanted to flip him off or yell something, but I was out of breath as it was, seeing as I don’t run unless something is chasing me.

Besides, every second counted, and I couldn’t get distracted.  Plus if I missed it I would have to do the walk of shame past him again, wheezing and trying to catch my breath, waiting another 30 minutes for my bus to go by.

I prayed the doors wouldn’t shut as I watched the last person in line get on board.  I screeched to a halt at the bus door in the nick of time, breathless and sweaty.

I scanned my card and thanked the driver, who looked at me and said, “Were you that girl yelling on the corner?”

I sheepishly admitted that I was, in between gasps for air, knowing he had clearly heard my meltdown on the corner when I thought I was going to miss the bus.

“Good.  That’s who I was waiting on.”

I thought that was nice of him, to hear me swear profusely and think, “I’d better wait for that girl.  She’s probably a pleasant passenger to have on board.”

I thanked him again and took a seat, trying to breathe quietly until my heart rate dropped back down to normal.  Then I’d at least only be the sweaty girl on the bus. Not the one who is hyperventilating  across the aisle that everyone is worried is going to pass out.

So I bitch about bus people.  But I became one of them that day.  I’m sure when someone got home from work they told the story of the sweaty, out of breath girl who wasted precious oxygen screaming profanities instead of running faster to make the bus.

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