September 29, 2020

BY JESSICA REDIKER

Anyone who frequently relies on public transportation will tell you that buses suck.

Not because of rude drivers, schedule deviations or buses breaking down, but because of the people who ride them.

I consider myself an average person with average expectations of appropriate human conduct. It should go without saying that behaviours such as touching a perfect stranger or sharing your personal life with them are not acceptable.

It should go without saying, but the more I ride the bus, the more I realize that it needs to be said.

If I am riding the bus I do not want to be touched, talked to, hit on, forced to listen to your horrible music or assaulted by your odour.

Is it too much to ask that all five of my senses be given their own personal space?

I have found that there are five main types of offenders.

My least favourite of the five types is “the talker.” They sit down next to you and assume this gives them licence to ramble on about anything, from their alien-Jesus novel-in-progress (seriously, she wanted me to edit it,) to their nasty divorce and

custody battles. I understand that people need to vent and fill the silence, but unless you’re making small talk about the weather, you’re saying too much.

Breaking the personal sound barrier is one thing, but “the toucher” takes contact to a physical level.

When I am sitting next to you I am not an armrest, a scratching post or a holder for your mittens. A woman once used the minimal space between my leg and hers to forcefully wedge in her mittens. When I crossed my legs and the mittens fell, she shot me the rudest glare, as if we had an unspoken agreement that I was to stay perfectly still.

Doing everything short of touching, thankfully, “the creep” stares down his target for several minutes before approaching to subject her to various icebreakers. I’ve heard everything from the typical “you look nice,” to the stalker-like “where do you live,” to the extremely forward “be my girlfriend.” When I see someone move from me to another person, I can’t help but feel like sometimes people ride the bus specifically to pick up a date. What happened to the good old days when riding a bus was just about getting from point A to point B?

Not only is the bus a collection of possible soulmates, but on occasion it is a nightclub.

The invention of headphones seems to have been forgotten by today’s youth. “The boom box” boards the bus blasting Lil’ Wayne’s latest hit from his cellphone.

According to the rules of Grand River Transit, playing music is prohibited. It is on a sign on the bus. Why it is so hard for teenagers to obey this rule, is beyond me.

The last of my top five, is probably the most frequently experienced. “The stench” is a person who smells like a combination of the worst smells possible; cigarette smoke, alcohol, sweat, garbage, onions and human waste.

Maybe I take the bus too often or I have a tolerant demeanour, but I don’t feel anyone deserves to be subjected to any of the aforementioned behaviours.