Thursday, October 19, 2006

Quest for (Bus) Space


C’mon, people! We all have to cooperate, be conscious, and be considerate of our fellow commuters. Let’s take a look at the facts:

A typical cozy Tri-Met commuter bus contains about 51 seats (why the odd number, I dunno). Each seat is approximately 18 inches wide, so anyone who has broad shoulders (or butts) encompasses at least a seat and a half. So doing the math…let’s see, carry the one…ah! In theory a typical bus can fit 34.7 people comfortably. (I love theory. We can live in a perfect world, theoretically)

My naïve friends & acquaintances who have never ridden a transit bus always say, “I envy you. You don’t have to stress about slow traffic, hazardous roads or bad drivers. You can just stretch out on the bus, relax, pull out a paper, read a book, or just sleep all the way in to work.” Oy! The truth hurts.

What the theory above doesn’t consider, and my number cruncher geeky friends don’t factor, however, is that by squeezing ourselves into the Asana Position and standing on each others' shoulders a typical bus can cram about 101 people into the space of a college dorm room making the bus feel more like a cattle trailer, and sometimes smelling like one, too.

This morning on my crowded bus while I was feeling much like a turtle does when it scrunches into it’s shell, and reading the sports section of the guy to my left who had his paper fully stretched out and practically in my lap, I felt a little nudge – nudge – nudge to my right. Indeedy you guessed it: the lady next to me was applying her make up on a crowded bus.

Now I understand women…let me rephrase that (I don’t think I’ll ever understand women)…I mean I understand that women like to claim their ability to “multi-task”. And for some that means using the ‘free’ time on a commuter bus to do such tasks as read a book, write a book, preparing the weekly home menu, checking email, paying bills online, feeding the dog, even doing the routine arguing via phone with a significant other. And, of course, doing makeup is right there at the top of the list.

These things must get done, sure. But women, PLEASE, have some consideration when in close proximity to others. The lady to my right this morning was like a Fidgeting Flibbertygibbit and couldn’t keep still. She applied her base, shadow, liner, powder, all the while her unconscious elbow kept wedging into my ribs. It was really distracting me from catching the scores on my other seat-neighbor’s paper.

Ah, she finally finished the face-on process and I thought I’d have a nice, quiet rest of the ride. ‘Oh,’ she obviously remembered to herself, ‘I have to file my nails.’ The flibbertygibbit proceeded to rummage through her shoulder pack for a nail file, found it, and for the rest of the ride it was: scritchy scritch…scritchity scritch scritch…blow…scritcher scritchy scritch…blow…

I couldn’t help but notice her nicely French manicured long nails. How she applied make up on a moving bus without poking her eyes out was beyond the comprehension of my little coffee deprived brain.

Oh well. I did manage to catch the Cards-Mets score despite the elbow assault of the make-up lady. Drats…game 7 tonight.

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