The Woes Of A Non-Driver

Loading Passengers for Edinburgh

via cessna152towser on flickr

I don’t drive, and have little to no intention of learning to in the next few years for the simple fact that the idea of driving around Edinburgh a) scares the life out of me, and b) takes just as long, if not longer than the bus. However, when you embark on to some of the regular service buses (such as the one pictures, which is the bus back to my parents’), you let yourself in for being confused, disgusted and angry at the general public.

As I’m writing this, I’m actually on that very bus, the X95, somewhere on the winding road between Carlisle and Edinburgh,and I’ve already had to move seats due to the sheer stink of the old lady who was sitting in front of me. Surely you couldn’t live with yourself if you smelled that bad, never mind unleashing it onto the poor people trapped in a hot, moving box for more than 2 hours with you! If stinking people were the only issue, that would be great, but I’m going to give a list of specific types of people who use the bus service around here, I’m sure they operate where you live too, so beware.

The Space Invader

This is an awkward type of character to encounter, as if the bus is as the picture above describes, there is space still available on the bus and such a type has sat beside you, there’s a good chance they’re not entirely compus mentus, which is a shame, but can still be wholly annoying to you, especially if you’re transporting a heavy bag with you and you don’t want to sit with it on your knee. Β Once the bus has filled up so there are no individual seats left however, this is usually unavoidable, and you’ll always have the worst luck with partners to share your seat. These (unfortunately, normally quite overweight) customers sit as far over in the seat as they can, so they’re practically sitting on top of you, so you’re stifled. Then the heat caused by the two of you sitting so close together makes the space invader begin to sweat and makes you feel even more uncomfortable. Not nice.

The Entitled Old Bag

In most cases, buses are primarily used by the older generation (who in Scotland, I’m not sure about the rest of the UK, travel free) off for day trips to the city or taking their shopping home. Anyway, because they’ve reached retirement age, that somehow thinks these old ladies have the right to your seat on the bus because you’re supposedly a young, able-bodied teenager. I’m 20 years old and am constantly in some variety of pain. I can’t stand up for long periods to give these old ladies a seat, because I would crumple to the floor. Actually, I wonder what would happen if I were to do that…maybe they’d feel as bad as I do when I say I literally can’t get up because I have a hip condition.

This particular type of old lady, however, doesn’t take that for an answer, and starts harping on about the war. Thing is, people in their early 70’s now had nothing to do with the war effort, considering they were children! I’m all for respecting your elders, but come on now, don’t use that as an excuse. I bet some of this type of elderly woman has better joints than I do! I couldn’t count the number of rants I’ve had from elderly people not asking, but telling me to give up my seat, including a time I was taking myself out to the hospital to get my ankle checked out after a fall the night before. I’ll play nice as long as someone says please.

The Doting Mother and Bratty Child

It’s not a proper bus journey without kids. I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I absolutely detest children under the age of about 8. Basically until they’ve learned right from wrong, are able to conduct a conversation, and most importantly have learned that screaming like a banshee is going to get them told off, not the attention they so clearly crave. This child is always accompanied by its mother, at first smiling uncomfortably and saying how “challenging” being a parent can be at times, then shouting at the child for a while, before relenting and doing whatever it wants just to get it to shut up. I know if I’d have screamed like a brat on the bus, my mother would have gone ballistic at me, and you’re bloody right I’d have shut up. My mum’s scary!

The only way to protect against brats of this sort are to always have your iPod/portable music playing device of your choice with you at all times, because (unfortunately) it would be terribly rude for you to drop kick the child out of the window whilst the bus is travelling at high-speed.

The Booze Hound

You know the type, arguing with the bus driver about the price of a fare, followed by intimidating (usually) his fellow passengers whilst being totally off his face on booze/drugs. It’s not your place to argue with this guy, seeing as it’s the driver’s right to deny his right to travel. I personally try to avoid all contact with people like this, they usually keep themselves to themselves once they’re sat down. If you’re unlucky to have them sat next to you however, I really feel for you. The smell of booze, especially in the middle of the day, is enough to turn your stomach.

The “Like, OMG” Girls

Teenage girls now really irritate me, sitting in huge groups, refusing to move to accommodate others, chatting at unbelievable volumes and listening to their incredibly terrible music through a crappy phone speaker. As a young-looking 20-something (good lord, I’m a 20-something now, not a teenager!), I get horrific look from groups of teenagers in ludicrously short skirts, badly dyed hair, plastered on makeup and fake tan as I think of myself as quite a plain dresser. Basically, I wear what I want, and these kids don’t like it. I’m past caring, at least I don’t have to pick at my skirt every 2 and a half minutes, and carry a tin of hairspray around to keep scrunching up my hair, it has volume to spare.

Crappy Gangsters

Yes, chavs who think they’re the dogs bollocks. One guy on a bus my dad was on was actually organising his drug deals over the phone whilst travelling to Edinburgh – what a genius! They always have some form of horrific “donk” music blasting from their phones, and speaking in fake Glaswegian accents about how they “totally kicked that c***’s f-ing head in” as if it were something to be proud of. It’s bizarre they seem to see themselves as cock of the walk, wandering around in cheap tracksuits and trainers. If you want to look nice, take a shower, buy a suit and behave like a gent, people might take notice then.

Of course I’m not perfect, but I do just keep myself to myself (unless noisy kids are on the bus, then my “angry” playlist comes out, and I have no doubt people in the surrounding area can hear it), and can’t see why other people can’t do the same. Let’s see what tomorrow’s travel brings.

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14 thoughts on “The Woes Of A Non-Driver

    • As I’m sitting on my return from Glasgow, I’ve discovered I missed out an important nuisance from the list – Spiderman. He who doesn’t find the leg-room ample, and thus unceremoniously belts the back of your chair so you’re sent flying forward and can’t sit up straight because of the lump in the back of your seat!

  1. You missed out “The bag lady/man” – this is the person who gets on a bus and then feels it necessary for their bag to get an inside seat next to them. Then as the bus fills, with the elderly, sick and impaired, their bag stays put and they take up two seats.

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