Tuesday, 24 April 2012

bus etiquette. i'm sorry in advance

London!  Does not look like this at the moment!

It feels a bit as if the early spring we experienced has gooooooooooone.  It's probably because the BBC were all "OMG drought" so the weather has become "HAHAHA SPITE" and drizzled for what feels like weeks on end.  The foliage is still creeping out though, sneaking along branches and limbs to unfurl, which helps my mood immeasurably.  I also remembered recently that a lovely friend gifted me her gummies (wellies or rainboots for the uninitiated ) when she left the UK, they have a happy wee print on them that make rainy days bearable. 

On wet or freezing days (or when running late), there is a bus that runs practically door to door work to home for me.  Which segues nicely into my ridiculously petty, largely rhetorical questions regarding London and/or other public transport systems:

1. Is it ever appropriate to eat on the bus?

If so, should foodstuffs be limited to non-crumby comestibles?  Should you avoid wiping your fingers on the seat at all costs?  I do understand the need for an emergency snack here and there, and I'm not just referring to the Under Three set; sometimes when the blood sugar drops I get all ANGRY MUST EAT NOWNOWNOW.  Sometimes it's the only spare time between busy activities at different destinations.  But if you're going to eat on a bus, must the bus be sparsely populated?  How over-ripe can your banana be before it's an unacceptable bus snack?  Is it ever acceptable to offer/be offered a chip on the bus (last night the smell of Walkers crisps was making me slaver from across the aisle)?

I used to get a bit grossed out by people eating on the subway in NYC, purely because it was a pretty filthy environment (even though my attitude to these things is pretty "meh, what doesn't kill you blah blah").  Should I feel the same about bus snacks?

2.  Do you thank your bus driver?

I found it really hard to "break" the habit of saying thank you to the driver getting off the bus when I moved to London.  Doesn't that sound like an awful thing to say - I know it's polite no matter the location!  However, when you're getting off at the back of the bus, the driver isn't in view and you're yelling "thank you" into a busload of people, they look back at you like you're slightly mad.  Given you've probably just been crammed into their armpits or vice versa depending on your height and it's your normal bus route, you want people to think you're sane, trust me.  I had it drummed into me as a kid that when I got off a bus, out of a car etc I was to say thank you to the driver.  Except for the short period at age 11 when we yelled something else vile that rhymes with thank you to the driver, I've generally been a polite adult and now that I've written this all out I just feel awful about going all "London-Transport-Blank-to-Marginally-Angry-Face" which is a thing, trust me. 

Please excuse that last sentence, my editing skillz are not up to the challenge today. 

3. Should you ever be offended if someone offers you a seat?

I choose to believe that some men do it because they're gentlemen, not because I look vaguely preggo.  It really bugs me when people don't get up for the elderly, disabled or for mothers, but on occasion I've done so and someone has looked at me like I'm wearing horns.  It could be because I've had the temerity to engage with them in an environment where people only engage with their cellphones? I worry about the assumption they think I've made though; I'd hate for some poor woman to be thinking "Does she think I look like an OAP? BUT I DON'T EVEN QUALIFY FOR THE PENSION".

4. What is the acceptable reaction when your bus is hit by another bus in a glancing blow off the left rear corner?

I'm guessing no one would say  "Immediately Rise And Exclaim Loudly 'Get Me Off Or We'll All Be Stuck Here Forever!!!'". 

Yeah, that happened. 

Once again, I'm delving into the big issues. The day-to-day is pretty compelling for me - sometimes I feel like city-dwelling has taught me more about my fellow humans than I'm ever likely to learn by reading. 

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