Thursday, May 21, 2009

Loser Cruiser Indeed

Rather than take the car as I usually do on Thursdays after work, today I took public transit. The bus. The over crowded, gum stuck to its seats, smelly, crusty puke on the floor, steamy inside, full of weirdos, fucking bus. I used to always take the bus while I was going to school at UBC as well as my first six months working downtown. The bus used to be a place where I could listen to my ipod, read, relax and after a few "I'm totally going to stay awake and read this book" head nods, lull myself into a half sleep. Bus drivers were delightful cynics that rolled their eyes at anyone who dared ask a question, but were witty and endearing when you actually carried on a conversation with them. The old ladies were sweet and frail and the old men were proud buggers who never sat down, wore pageboy caps and were always chewing on something even though there was never really anything in their mouth to chew on. I used to love watching mothers pop their strollers back onto two wheels to mount the bus. They always had this smooth, delicate way of maneuvering their way onto the bus and stomping down on that stroller brake like, "don't worry baby, I got this shit handled."

Today's bus ride was nothing like the rides of yore...but has it really been that long that everything (and everyone) have so drastically changed? I had barely stepped in the bus before the driver shamed me for getting on the express bus without the intent to go all of the way to the last stop. The 98B runs from downtown Vancouver to Richmond with stops at main intersections along the way for loading AND unloading. The bus ticket machine ate my ticket and when I asked for it back to transfer at 41st Avenue, he let loose about taking the express instead of "ANY. OTHER. BUS. Any of the buses behind me," (complete with a disapproving head shake). I ignored his unnecessarily rude comments and actually managed to secure a seat (with only ONE piece of dried gum on it! Yay!) When I sit in the front section, I like to keep my eyes peeled for elderly folks getting on, and sure enough at the next stop a lady who looked to be about 150 years old came shuffling on. I immediately jumped up and offered her my seat but she refused. She said that if I wasn't getting off at the next stop then she wasn't taking my seat and despite my persistence, she wouldn't cave. So then I had the treat of watching an old lady sway back and forth, nearly falling and breaking her hip with every stop and go pulse of rush hour traffic. After a nerve-wracking 20 minute ride of watching this old lady nearly die at the hands of gravity, I finally transferred. Even though my next bus smelt like puke that had been roasting on an old tire in the sun, there were plenty of seats and the bus driver may have actually smiled (gasp!) There was a woman in the front with a stroller and two more of her children were perched on the seats behind her. "Omigod, omigod, Tanner loooook, it's a KITTY!" squealed the little girl, and only 5 seconds later she howled "AAAHAHAHAAA. MADE YOUUUU LOOOOOK!" Apparently her stroller pushing mother wasn't in quite as good spirits as her daughter because she whipped her head around and said, "oh shut up..." So with my own spirits crushed and with some unidentified substance stuck to the bottom of my shoe, I unloaded the bus and walked home.

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