I think we can all agree that people, as a race, are weird. Bus people, however, are the most bizarre of them all. It's as if when we step on to public transportation, we enter a completely different society with completely different social mannerisms. My friend J and I ride the bus frequently ensemble and we have spent countless hours analyzing the oddities that people come up with while on the bus. I'd love to give an entire thesis on my bus observations but sadly, I am lazy. Therefore, I will only entertain in this entry a single observation that I made today.
Sweeping generality. I'm just going to put it out there, and if it offends, so be it. The majority of people that ride the bus have less than the standard amount of social grace and tend to fall into the lower rungs of society's ladder. There are exceptions: students, environmentalists, 1 car household members, and a slew of other tiny differentiations. That said, a lot of adults that ride the bus have arrived there due to the vicious cycle of conduct. Conduct (manners, grace, etc.) is imperative for social advancement, along with education of course, but they tend to accompany one another. If one lacks proper conduct, education will be more difficult, decreasing the possibility of obtaining a high paying job and all the resulting amenities such as a nice home, disposable income, and a car. I think you can fill in the rest of the blanks.
And generally the lack of manners is on full display on the bus, from grafitti to body odour to public urination. But there is one custom on the bus in which we are downright Victorian: the choosing of our seat. People will do anything possible to move Heaven and Earth so that they - God forbid - do not have to sit next to another person. And if by chance there are no 'singles' left, the sigh omitted from your new bus buddy echoes across the plain in stupified frustration.
Now we arrive at today's observation. I was sitting in a very unique spot on the 18 Corydon-North Main this morning; in new-er-ish buses there are three seats that face the back door right before the steps onto the second level. The right-most seat is ideal as there is a divider between that seat and the first seat on the upper level, lending it to optimum slouching. In theory, these should be the easiest seats to negotiate, socially. One person on the right, one person on the left, and the middle seat is literally the last seat on the bus that would be utilized. So the bus is filling up rather nicely as we approach Confusion Corner and a young man enters, about 20-22, slightly robust, dress: toned down former sk8er. My left leg is aproximately three inches over my proper boundary onto the middle seat, which in bus speak means one of two things:
1. I will let you sit here if you truly insist, but be prepared to be coughed on.
2. I'm a man with a certain amount of 'baggage' if you will, and getting me to close my legs is about on par with a Kentucky whore with a yeast infection.
I assure you that my social graces will show that in my case, it was the latter. And this is just fine in a three-seat situation: we can BOTH overlap, praise the Good Lord! However, he, in his über-machismo, chose to stand, gripping the pole two feet from the seat in question. He clearly needed a sign. A sign that would say, "Dude, brother, ombre, you may share this assembly of seats with me, your strong, non-advancing breeder brother." All I had to do was shift my weight ever so slightly, retracting my leg a quarter of an inch perhaps, and we were gold. He sat. We said nothing, although glances were shot a couple times in mere observation of surrounding, and there was peace. And it was was good.