Thursday, February 19, 2009

Battle of the Bus

When I am riding the bus, my seat is my territory. I own it, and it's mine to guard and defend. Yes, that dingy, cracked, green seat is my tiny country. That seat is big enough to hold most average sized bodies, and their luggage. Today, I had to teach a man a lesson who sat next to me.

He threw himself next to me with vigor, sprawling his legs to each side in a gigantic "V". His luggage sat haphazardly in his lap. He was an older man, white hair, wearing a green and blue plastic coat. I saw him glance at me several times, his hip pressed against my hip, his knee encroaching into my air space. The line between seats? Yeah, don't cross it. I had an uneasy feeling that he was enjoying this bodily contact with me.

Now, I am the typical American, and I like my space, especially when slimy men are sitting by me. So, I picked up my purse, put it on my lap, and pressed myself to the window, practically made myself stick to the wall of the bus. I looked down, and see that knee coming every closer, his body inching next to mine. Once again, the hip was pushed against my hip. I picked up my lunch, put it on my lap, and actually became the bus. Anger and annoyance bubbled in me, we are sharing this bus, why should I have to become a pancake so you can sprawl out all over both seats. At that point, not an ounce of my body was touching his, and then he kicked his feet over and started playing footsie.

That was enough. I'd had it. Under the pretense of reading my book, I let my 30 pound backpack "accidentally" slide to my right, on top of his leg. The heavy bag sidled itself between him and me, and I pretended to hurridly pick it up, only to let it slide again. TAKE THAT! AND THAT! He got off at the next stop.

Yes, maybe it was cruel for me to be so sensitive, but the bus is a very intimate environment, and I don't need people to throw their legs and arms and butts around in my space. That is why there are individual seats. The bus doesn't need to be one gigantic commuter orgy. I'm glad I had my heavy backpack with me.....nasty men of the out.


Watson's Dad said...

Kudos to you! As a fellow bus rider (four hours a day,) I am with you all of the way. Get out of my tiny space!
I use my elbows at my side to help define my space.
My other pet peeve: bike riders who jam the aisle at the front of the bus and are riding for long distances. one is going to steal your bike. Take a seat or move to the back. I use my pack (heavy as well) to make a statement.
Great post!

Kristin said...

I love bus stories, and that there are people on my blog who can relate!! Thanks for the comment ;)

Neo said...

I'm feeling your anger, I don't like taking the bus for the reasons you have stated here. I am not so out spoken but I think in that situation I would have had to address the guy with a loud, EXCUSE ME!

Colleen said...

I HAAATTTEEEE when men sit with their legs like that. Not only is it gross, but it's rude to think you can take up that much space. I'm right with you girl. I would have jammed my elbow into him. I do that when people stand behind me too close... I pretend not to notice them and then quickly and sharply put my hand on my hip with my elbow out backwards. Take that! They usually back off.

Paula said...

Yuck! Some guys are gross like that. I think you'd not be out of line to say to people, "Excuse me, could you please move your leg out of my space?" I rarely take public transportation - I would if I could (not easily accessible). However, the one time I took the Max train recently during rush hour, I felt like the proverbial sardine - I had a seat, yes, but people with standing room only were packed in all around me so I didn't have a square inch of space - I felt one could fall into my lap at any given time. And the one right in front of me was having a private cell phone conversation (and others were having cell phone conversations all around). So much for reading the book I brought! Public transportation definitely puts you into intimate contact with the spectrum of humanity.