Riding the bus.

by sam on 04/22/2006

I find that some of the more, let’s say, confrontational, experiences that I have living in NYC involve riding on public transportation. Most of my anecdotes about "crazy" new yorkers usually involve the bus. Like Thursday.

Decided to take the bus home from work, and it seemed like it would be an uneventful ride. Got a good seat, and it’s only 20 blocks to home.

Then, the fighting of the old biddies started. Two women who were sitting in the "elerly and disabled" seats at the front of the bus (neither of them looking particularly elderly or disabled, but that’s not really the point of the story), almost came to blows over the third seat.

First, I should probably describe these seats for those of you who don’t spend your lives memorizing MTA routes. At the front of the bus, behind the driver, are a set of seats designated for the elderly and disabled. These seats line the sides of the bus, a bench of three on each side, and face each other. Once you get past these seats, the rest of the seats, until you get to the back, face forward. I am in the very first forward-facing seat. Sitting on the front bench on my side of the bus are two women (the aforementioned old biddies), seated next to each other, with the one in the middle seat having piled up a bunch of bags in the "empty" seat directly behind the driver. Across the way, there are also two women, who have sat leaving the middle seat empty.

So, next stop.

Elderly stooped man with a cane gets onto the bus. Moves (slowly) towards the empty middle seat on the opposite side. This is when the biddy closest to me starts chastising the other one that she should move her bags so that the old man can sit down, because she’s taking up two seats. This then degenerates into a screaming match, with the middle biddy pointing out that the guy is already sitting down somewhere else, and then insulting the other one by saying that it’s not her bags that are the problem, it’s the fact that the first biddy is so fat that she’s taking up too much space (never mind that objectively, the first biddy, while heavy, is obviously only taking up one seat, and the middle biddy has 18 plastic bags filling a legitimately empty seat). So now we all know that the middle biddy is a bitch as well as a seat hog (even if she started out kind of right, in that giving up the spare seat wasn’t absolutely necessary).

I of course, sitting right next to these people, start wishing desperately that I had remembered my new issue of the The New Yorker so that I could ignore all of these people even more pointedly than I already am.

But the best part is that at the very next stop, a very pregnant woman gets on, looks at the seat with all of the bags, and just says, "move those, I want to sit down." So middle biddy of course makes a big show of how much effort it is to move the bags, with this look on her face like this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to her (and now, of course, she’s also completely embarrassed because she had made such a big stink about not moving the bags only two minutes earlier), and the other biddy has the biggest, self-satisfied grin on her face and starts silently mouthing "see! see!" to everyone in the back of the bus.

At this point, I got off the bus.

Of course, none of this compares to the time back when I was a summer associate when the bus driver had to actually call the police to force a crazy woman off of the bus. That one will always remain the best. I’ll have to actually write about it one of these days.

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