Today I was waiting for the bus for nearly fifteen minutes, which is fair enough since they run every fifteen minutes and I only leave work at 16:30, so I'm used to waiting fifteen minutes for the bus.
Anyway, I don't like to sit in the front seats at the bus station because I guess I'm still afflicted with that secondary school mindset where sitting at the front of anything shows a little bit too much effort/eagerness and therefore picks you out as a "massive geek", and even though I'm a self-confessed "massive geek", I don't want to be hit in the back of the head with an egg, which is obviously what would happen.
So there I sat, mid-range, with a few seats behind me, a few in front, casually waiting for my bus.
Now, I am extremely picky when it comes to choosing a seat on the bus. I have preferences depending on the season, so since this is summer, I'll only go into my hot weather specific needs. (NB there are different morning and afternoon requirements, but I'll just cover the afternoon ones right now, to save time.)
- I cannot be sitting on the side of the bus where the sun shines for the majority of the journey. I have sensitive eyes and even with sunglasses this just isn't appropriate. I find myself squinting, gripping my teeth fidgeting to try and find shade, until I get such a headache all I can do is close my eyes and weep inwardly.
- I can't sit at the back of the bus because the engine smell makes me feel sick and often there are teenagers playing BAD songs over and over again, turned up too loud to be drowned out by my own music/maniacal thoughts about life. I also run the risk of being murdered by them because that's just the kind of people thy are.
PLUS the back of the bus often becomes very busy and there are limited seating options - the sofa running along the back is a definite no no; sitting next to one person is bad enough, two is like some terrible, unending bus-nightmare.
- I can't sit at the front of the bus in case an elderly or disabled person gets on and I have to get up and move. My overall levels of social awkwardness do not cope well in this kind of situation, so I prefer to just avoid them. At all costs.
The seats set a little further back than these also pose a sizeable problem in summer because they have the heating system running all the way along the window side. If bus drivers want my heat-induced vomit all over the saloon floor, then they should just keep on pumpin' that heat. Oh what's that? They were going to anyway? Oh good, my well-being means nothing. The front of the bus also, again, heightens the likelihood of my having to spend time in close confines with a stranger. From my experiences, strangers on buses often smell, or have personal space issues. Both of these things make me grouchy, which is the last thing I need at the end of the working day when it's more than likely I'm grouchy already because I'm having hunger/life-crisis issues.
- I don't *really* like sitting upstairs if it's a double decker, because I spend the entire journey terrified that
a) the bus is going to tip over, and
b) when it's time to get off I'll stumble on the stairs and fall to my broken-necked death.
The top of the bus is only really suitable if Best Beloved is with me so he can go down first and catch me should I indeed fall head first towards that hellish chasm of doom.
So in essence, the only suitable place for me to sit on the bus I catch home every evening is the seat over the wheel on the left hand side, next to the window with my bag beside me to deter strangers, and even this isn't ideal since most bus drivers don't understand the concept of slowing down for speed bumps.
Anyway, I sat waiting in the bus station. A man came and sat in a seat behind me. That was okay. Then, a few minutes later, a woman came. She stared at me the entire time she was walking over and plonked herself in a seat in front of me. For a brief moment I chastised her to myself, but then turned to more charitable thoughts: she was older than me; not ancient, but older than me nonetheless. And she had a huge nose. So I figured since she'd been hefting that around with her all day on her middle-to-old lady legs I should probably quit my whining and let her get on before me.
The bus pulled up. I signalled for her to go first. She refused. I could have just gone ahead. I SHOULD have just gone ahead. But I'd made the offer, I couldn't take it back, her nose was already half way there.
"No, no," I said, "go ahead!"
"Thank you," she said. "It's not like we're going to be fighting for seats, is it?"
How wrong she was.
I knew, almost immediately that she was going to sit in my seat. I didn't even try to hide my disgust. I slumped into a seat at the front of the bus, instantly too hot, the sun shining in my face, the threat of myriad old people looming over my tired little head. I ate an apple. Then I made what I thought was a sensible decision. I moved to the top of the bus. I'm 23 now, I should be able to handle a few steps on a bus.
How wrong I was.
I pressed the bell for my stop and headed towards the stairs, my bag swinging wildly from my arm because I had no time to sort myself out (the driver was insane). I TRIPPED ON THE STAIRS. I had a mild heart attack and grabbed the rail just in time. I swung into the wall and managed to steady myself. Then I died of embarrassment.
If I see the lady again tomorrow, if she sits in front of me at the bus station tomorrow, then I'll have an egg ready, though there's no doubt some alien forcefield emanating from the house-like beak dripping from her face that will protect her.