I thought I'd start off with a good old rant about public transport.
I rely on the goodwill of friends with cars and Sydney Buses to get me from A to B. A combination of laziness and roadrage keeps me from obtaining a driving licence, and until I overcome these obstacles I will remain a slave to the myth that is the bus timetable.
I don't start work at the same time every day so the experience is always a little different. It starts well enough, a short walk to the bus stop and a short wait for the bus. My least favourite time to be at the stop is 07.45. This is the time that The Woman from the Post Office stinks out the bus shelter with an overwhelming cloud of the nauseating Angel by Thierry Mugler. This is possibly the most disgusting scent known to mankind, with the exceptions of Red Door and Opium. Fortunately The Woman from the Post Office doesn't get on my bus. Happy days.
Anyway. I get on the bus, dip my ticket and select my seat. My stop is the 4th on the route and there's usually a good choice of seats before 07.45. I make my way to just past the middle of the bus and sit by the window. My fellow passengers all stare vacantly in front of them. No eye contact is made. Excellent.
I like to put people in boxes, then shut the lid and set fire to them. Only kidding, Here's SSS's guide to bus users from hell.
1. Seat Blockers. These passengers think the bus belongs to them. Travelling on the bus is beneath them. They like to sit on the outside of a double seat, thus discouraging new passengers from joining them. They studiously stare in front of them and will only move when asked. Seat blockers are 99.9999999999% male.
2. Stretchers. These passengers are just far too big to occupy one seat. They need two. They stretch out their limbs and often put their feet on the seat. Stretchers also like to run one arm over the back of the seat and look at the passenger behind in a propriatorial manner. Their body language screams, "This is my seat. I also have the right to enter your space. Deal with it." Stretchers have a sub catagory - Spreadleggers. Spreadleggers are men who have such unfeasibly large testicles that cannot sit with their legs together. Instead, they sit as though a beachball is betwixt their knees. I think I hate these people the most. Again, most Stretchers and Spreadleggers are men. Is SSS sexist? You betcha.
3. Overseas students. (SSS lives in a beachside suburb close to a university) This group are found on the post 9.30am bus. Suntanned, scantily dressed and very bloody loud. They sit at the back of the bus but never sit next to each other. A group of 4 will occupy enough seats for 8 people. They stare at everyone who gets on the bus. Young, tanned and shouting at each other across the bus in a variety of languages, they ignore the social norms of public transport, moving reluctantly if at all. UK and Irish backpackers tend to sit at the front of the bus in the four seat section and disabled seats. The Irish are obvious in their nylon sports shirts, proudly boasting the name of some pub from home. The UK contingent are loud and have expensive mobile phones. They watch the elderly people walk past without flinching.
4. Hardcore smokers. They puff away as the bus approaches, sucking on their ciggie as the bus doors open. Often they exhale their last desperate lungful of smoke as they walk up the bus. They fill the air with the aroma of stale smoke as they pass. Either they sleep in their clothes or they smoke from the minute they wake up.
Being a reasonably small person of 5ft and average height, I don't take up too much room on the bus. This means that I am a prime target for new passengers, particularly large ones. I hate it when a man of overaverage height and overaverage weight gets eye contact with me and plonks themselves on the vacant part of my seat, often forcing me to shrink up against the window. This experience gets even more distasteful if they are Spreadleggers. Often I demonstrate my excellent skills of passive aggressiveness and start nudging them. I have been known to ask Spreadleggers if they have enough room. They gaze at me blankly then I see a light behind their eyes and they close their legs by a millimetre.
My trusty iPod makes the journey somewhat more bearable, although I never listen to it if I am sitting next to someone who's reading. If they are reading the Daily Telegraph I'll put it on, though. It's not really a newspaper, when all is said and done, although SSS does like to read the horoscopes and the gossip section.......
(to be continued....................)