This post is inspired by an article on Vancity Buzz, a popular Vancouver blog, about a woman who allegedly assaulted three children and attempted to stab their mother on a bus earlier this week. Read that article here.
Tomorrow’s Monday and for 4.5 million+ people in the GTA (switching back to TO, now), this means hopping out of our beds to ride the rocket before we get cozy with a coffee or tea at our desks, about to start another week.
I commute to work every day via public transit. I did this for two years during my university career, as well. Most of the time, it’s all good. I enjoy the hour to hour-and-a-half to myself in the mornings, where I read the news or indulge in a good book, and I look forward to home-time so I can catch some Z’s while obnoxiously listening to Beyoncé’s newest album on repeat.
However, there are certain things I think on the train that I feel I should come clean about:
I judge people who choose to sit in an aisle seat instead of the empty window seat. This makes life so challenging for anyone who would like to sit down. Not only do they have to wiggle through the tiny space between the aisle seat patron’s legs and the dividing board, but they also have to suck in their gut and pull their bag awkwardly for fear of smashing it in their soon to be seat buddy’s face. It’s one thing if you’re getting off in a few stops and don’t want to trouble anyone else, however, if you’re there for the long haul, be smart about it and be respectful to someone else who might want to sit down. If you don’t like sitting by the window, choose the aisle seat but sit on an angle so it’s easy for anyone to pass on through to the open seat beside you.
Chances are, if you look like you have a cold, I won’t sit beside you: I’m not a germaphobe by any means, but I just can’t when someone’s blowing their nose all in my face, sneezing without covering their mouth and horking in a handkerchief to my left, right and centre. Obviously, we all get sick. We all have days when we sneeze unexpectedly and grotesque bits of phlegm fly out of our noses and throats, even though we’re desperately hoping they don’t. If you’re sick and taking transit with others, be considerate of their space and try not to breathe, sneeze, cough or hork on them. Ew. That is how germs spread. And, it’s not like these people who are unfortunately fighting a cold are sneezing on beats and making them sicker. They’re sneezing on people.
I get nervous when I see an older person who might need a seat: I had this troubling experience when I asked an older gentleman if he wanted to sit down where I was seated and instead of saying, “No thank you,” he screamed at me and said, “I’m not old!!!” This resulted in a busload of people staring at me either with disgust, for they didn’t hear the conversation due to having headphones in, or pity. I know the right thing to do is to get up and offer my seat, but I’m terrified that I’ll get yelled at again just for trying to be polite.
I want to be the one that screams when on the streetcar and the driver keeps insisting to move back but there’s no room: Sometimes, I’m not even holding on to something. I’m falling all over the place and clutching my massive bag to my chest trying to make as much room as possible. When the streetcar stops to load more people and the automated, “For customer convenience, please move back,” message keeps playing, all while the driver is shouting, “Behind the yellow line! Please stand clear of the doors! Get off the steps or else the doors won’t close and we can’t move,” I want to turn around to the 6,000 more people (some who are most definitely hella stinky) trying to board the car and yell that a) there is no room, wait for the next one and b) if someone seriously thinks they are going to get on with their truckload of groceries at 5:42pm on a Thursday evening, they’re wrong. If I see a streetcar, bus or train is too full, I wait for the next one or walk to a different stop. No need for all of us to cram on these things, even more than we already are. We’re humans. Not sheep (even though sometimes it feels like we are).
I feel this overwhelming and amazing sense of confidence when walking down the aisle of a public transit vehicle: I’m probably thinking “Driver, roll up the partition please,” even though I have no personal driver nor do any of the vehicles I travel on have a partition (and they probably never will). Yet, there’s something about grabbing a sweet seat, keeping my balance throughout the entire ride and knowing where I’m getting off without having to check out the transit map that gives me this Yoncé alter-ego who is all, “Me, myself and I, it’s all I got in the end. That’s what I found out.” The best moments are when I’ve applied a fresh layer of red lipstick and my bangs are looking on point or when I’m wearing shoes with a bit of a wedge.
I am in awe and full of pride when I see a parent with their children or an owner with their pet(s) on public transit: The kids probably have their arms flailing in the air, screaming, “I DON’T LIKE THIS TRAIN, DAD” and chomping on cereal that is going absolutely everywhere over said parent’s work clothes, and yet, there are parents throughout Toronto (and other cities) that just do it and don’t sweat it. Damn. I hope one day I am like you. Secondly, when pet owners have their dog, cat, bird or who knows what other animal on board with them, I mentally give them kudos for all their patience and confidence.
When I see a couple making out, I want to look away in disgust, but forget, an then look at them as such: There’s this one couple I see every morning (well, most mornings) and the entire ride, they’re staring at each other so intently, whispering sweet nothings. The male partner gets off the subway first and when he kisses his lady goodbye, it’s one of those long, lingering, tongue-filled kisses that shouldn’t be shared when amongst people, never mind strangers. Every time I see them I roll my eyes and try to find a seat far, far away.