This blog is dedicated to all those who join me in their perseverance though the daily struggle, the notorious “commute”. To all the people who toughen it out every day, know that you are not alone…know that I love you.
This may go down in history at TheEricHammer.com for multiple reasons. One, it will be lengthy, maybe lengthier than any other blog I’ve written. I’ve been planning this blog for almost six months, which is longer than any other blog I’ve written except the one about my housemate who I lived with. Two, the passion and emotions are authentic; I feel so strongly about this, and anyone who has ever commuted to work before on the bus can relate and appreciate it. People who haven’t experienced the daily commute to work don’t understand that commuting is a second job. It takes time. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, and you’re with grumpy people who you don’t want to be around. Only differences are you’re not getting paid and there’s no lunch break. I’ve been commuting for 6 months, and I’m ready to blow my brains out. I cannot even fathom how some people do it every single day for 20, 30, 40 years. Can’t feel bad for those assholes though because that’s on them. No chance I take the bus every day for the rest of my life. I’d blow my brains out. Before we get to business, I need to break down a few details, things that they don’t tell you when you buy a bus pass.
First things first, you do not speak on the bus. Everybody sleeps. Conversation must be kept to an absolute minimum. When people start talking, everyone else gets restless (quite literally to the meaning) and straight up pissed. Next. The bus is cold. Back in the summer they literally blast the AC at all times, some kinda bullshit about trying to keep people awake so they don’t miss their stops. News flash, it’s 7 in the morning, people wanna sleep goddamn it. I thought this was America! It’s not so much of a problem anymore (the buses are pretty warm since it’s gotten cold out but a comfortable warm at that), but if it’s more than like 60 degrees out, the bus is about 7 degrees. Day or night, rain or shine, it does not matter. Three: people do not give a fuck about anyone else. Some people are just totally inconsiderate. There was a Friday during the summer where some lady was sleeping across both seats. Anyone who commutes knows that summer Fridays are no joke, the buses are packed, the traffic sucks, and people wanna get the fuck home. And here’s this lady, out cold, no regard for anyone else, taking up TWO seats while she’s catching Z’s in her own fucking world. Unbelievable. There’s also some absolute characters who are just complete clowns. On multiple occasions I got on the bus in the morning and sat next to a guy who was already sleeping. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that he had a donut pillow around his neck, a blanket over his body, and that weird blindfold thing you get on planes. I mean come on man, we have an hour, MAYBE an hour and half ride, we’re not taking the red eye to Europe. Gotta respect that commitment to sleep though, you can’t teach that. Just try to fit in for me, one time.
Some more miscellaneous things. It’s not the most high tech machine that’s taking you to and from work every day. It’s no NASA space shuttle, not everything is perfect. Sometimes, you’re in a seat that won’t lean back at all. Other times your seat only goes all the way back. I’ve had days where the air conditioning was dripping on me every ten seconds for an hour and change. That shit sucks, man. I’ve also done just about everything to try to keep myself busy on the bus. I sleep, I read, I write blogs, I check twitter, I text my friends, I write emails, whatever it takes. I used to watch this show Cosmos on my laptop because I thought if anyone saw me watching that they’d think “Wow! That looks fascinating, he must be really interesting and intelligent.” There’s some validity there I think. If I saw someone watching Cosmos, I would assume they’re smarter/better than me. Keeping busy is the key, but sometimes it’s not enough and you just wanna punch the driver in the head because he/she’s not getting you home fast enough, even though it’s probably not their fault. Speaking of drivers, they make their own rules. They take alternate routes and won’t tell you. They’ll make stops in reverse order because why not (it’s not like people have schedules to keep, right?). There was one time where my driver blew right past the exit on the parkway. It’s unreal. Whatever. Let’s get to what this is all about, the top 10 worst people to commute with. Buckle up…(pun most definitely intended).
Disclaimer: none of these roles are gender. They are titled “guy” because in my experience the vast majority of these violators are of the male species.
10. The guy who eats a full meal on the bus
Otherwise known as ‘Mr. Watch Me Scarf Down This Food And Make Everyone Hate Me For It’. Come on, man. You can’t wait an hour? We’re in close quarters here. Everyone smells your food. Everyone is hungry and anxious to get home. Everyone now hates you. It could be a bag of pretzels, it could be sushi, it could be a cheeseburger and fries. That smell travels quickly. Now I can’t sleep, and I have to keep looking around until I find out who the culprit is, and then I have to give them a dirty look, and then I have to get angry at them for thirty seconds, and then I have to get mad at myself for not bringing food on the bus like that guy, and then I write down in my phone how much I hate that person for bringing food on the bus. And then here we are. You did this to me.
9. Mr. ‘Makes The Driver Stop Somewhere That’s Not A Real Stop’ Guy
This doesn’t happen often, but it’s a major inconvenience when it does. It’s a long commute, there was unusual traffic and you just wanna get THE FUCK home. Guy asks the driver to stop on route 9 at the fuckin Hess station. How about no? The Hess station is not a stop. Guy’s trying to beat the system and take advantage of everyone. I hate this guy. He’s a corner-cutter and a schemer. He knew when he got on the bus that he was gonna ask to get off there. On the other hand I have seen people make honest mistakes and get on the wrong bus, a bus that otherwise would have blown right past their stop. In that case, fine, no harm done, people make mistakes. But you can’t just make up your own stops because we’re passing by somewhere that you want to get off. Doesn’t work that way pal, call an über.
8. Fatty McFatpants
This is one of those “I don’t hate you because you’re fat, you’re fat because I hate you” situations. Like I can’t get mad at someone for being fat, that’s just messed up. But when it affects me personally, that’s a whole different can of worms. It seems like the more I try to avoid the fatties, the more fatties I have to try to escape from. The problem for me is that I get on the bus after work at the last stop, and open seats are scarce. The selection is limited. Honestly I don’t even mind that you’re fat, but can you just not be fat around me? Or at least be less fat, is that at all possible? I have a solution that will make everyone happy. It’s called the Plus Bus. Fat people only, that way they have bigger seats/more room, and they don’t ride with the rest of us slimmer folk. Also, in extreme circumstances (when the person is really fat), one less person fits on the bus. No joke, if someone can’t sit next to them, they’re taking up TWO seats. Someone’s waiting for the next bus, might show up late to work, might get fired, meanwhile Fatty is sitting comfy in two seats for the price of one. That’s straight up criminal.
7. Guy who watches videos without headphones
Only reason this one ranks ahead of Fatty is because usually the fat guy only affects the person next to them for the most part, but this guy is a nuisance for everyone within at least a 3 seat proximity. Watching your videos on the bus with no headphones/empathy for your fellow busriders is one of the most disrespectful things you can do. People are trying to sleep, people are trying to read, people are trying not to give a shit about what you’re watching. It’s 2014, get a pair of headphones. You’re paying $350/month to ride the bus, you can afford headphones. You’re not that poor. Grow up.
6. Mr. ‘Falls Asleep In The Aisle Seat So Nobody Asks To Sit Window’ Guy
A move I used to respect but quickly realized is totally fucked up. In my experience, most people prefer to sit window. BUT you’re much better off sitting by yourself regardless of the seat, that’s obvious. So people will sit in the aisle seat with nobody next to them, and then they’ll “fall asleep” so people don’t ask to sit window. If someone’s sleeping in a window seat, you can sit down in the aisle seat without disrupting their slumber. But it takes a little extra effort to wake them up (if they’re even actually sleeping) and ask them to move. Personally, I prefer the aisle, but I’ll go out of my way to wake these dickheads up. Falling asleep in the aisle seat when the window seat is open is as fucked up as it gets. Doesn’t matter if you’re doing it to keep the seat open or because you just fell asleep. Fuck outta here with that.
5. Mr. ‘On-And-Off-The-Brakes Bus Driver’ Guy
“Sorry bout that…damn guy drives like an animal!” I went a different direction with this one. While I appreciate these drivers and the job they do (because you couldn’t pay me any sum of money to drive back and forth to the city everyday), some of them are shitty drivers, and that is a problem considering that they, well, drive for a living. Traffic sucks for everyone. The commuters are late, the bus driver is stressed out, I get it. But the drivers who drive three feet then brake then another three feet then brake have got to be joking. This whole stop and go thing ain’t cutting it for me pal Jesus Christ I’m trying to sleep and my head keeps going back and forth. Learn how to drive, fuck. But obviously I’m too big of a bitch to say anything because I’m afraid of the “I’ll turn this damn bus around. That’ll end your PRECIOUS little commute pretty damn quick!”
4. Mr. ‘Gets Upset When You Ask To Move His Bag So You Can Sit In The Otherwise Empty Seat’ Guy
This guy can literally suck a bag of dicks. If you’ve ever commuted you know who this person is. They’re sitting window seat but their bags and jackets are occupying the aisle seat while they enjoy their space. You ask to sit aisle seat, and they’ll move their stuff without a problem (or vice versa). But not before they roll their eyes a little bit. Um are you serious? Bro there’s like 5 open seats left, I happened to have picked yours because I don’t wanna sit in the back by the bathroom, and I don’t wanna sit in the front with the old Asian ladies. Is it that big of a deal? Nobody else has a fucking problem with someone sitting next to them. It’s a bus. It’s gonna fill up. Spare me with that eye roll. Where would you like me to go? Should I wait for the next bus so you can have a little more room? It’s not a hotel room you can’t just throw your shit all over the place. Goodness gracious this gets me heated. Just be regular. Sit on the bus, mind your space, don’t do anything to piss anyone off, and go to sleep like everybody else. Holy moly. It’s not my fault you hate your life and your boss is up your ass and your kids are annoying and your wife nags you. Don’t take it out on me, fella.
3. Mr. ‘Elbow Space Breacher’ Guy
One of the worst people in the world. There’s a clear division in where one seat ends and the other begins. That’s the amount of space you can take up. We’re not flying first class here. You want more space? Sit in the aisle so you can stretch your legs into the aisle. Otherwise you’re signing and unwritten law to hug the side of the bus and not cross the divider. We’ll fight the whole way by subtly pushing legs/arms the other direction if you want. But if you think I’m gonna let you take control of this two sweater and establish dominance by taking up 60% of the space, you’re insane, simple as that. Two seats, one and one, 50% space for you, 50% space for me. Equal partnership. Don’t be a dick and breach that. Ever heard of commuter’s honor? Read a book.
2. Mr. ‘Seat-All-The-Way-Back’ Guy
This could easily contend for the top spot. In layman’s terms, putting your seat all the way back on the bus is a dick move. It’s unnecessary and fucked up. Everyone’s cramped with space, nobody’s comfortable. Leaning the seat back is totally fine, that’s why it’s an option; everyone does it, myself included. But the RIGHT thing to do is lean it back just enough where your head won’t fall forward when you fall asleep but you’re not compromising any personal space of the guy behind you. There’s no other way to put it, it’s arguably the worst offense possible on a bus full of people. All the way back is really extreme, there’s plenty of middle ground to work with. But no, you need to be basically horizontal while the guy behind you is losing the feeling in his knees in the process. No regard for anyone else. This is as scummy and spiteful a move as any. Fuck you.
2A. Guy who complains about seat being all the way back
As much of a dick move it is to lean your seat all the way back, the fact of the matter is, it’s fair game. You can very much do the exact same thing; now there’s a few people pissed off, but it might make you feel better. I compare this to when you go trick or treating and you get to a house with a empty bucket of candy outside that says “Take One Please” and you complain that there’s none left. Well ya know what? Next time get there earlier. As far as the bus goes, maybe sit in the front so nobody’s seat can violate your leg room. You have 3 choices: the first is to do nothing and feel sorry for yourself and be angry at the guy in front of you (easiest). The second is a more immature move of leaning your seat back to give yourself a little more room, but you’ll also do to someone else what was done to you (if you can live with yourself, then by all means). The third is to ask the guy to lean his seat up a little bit, no shame there. Although the other day some guy next to me had his seat all the way back, so the guy behind him asked him nicely to lean his seat forward a little bit. The seat-leaner absolutely heard it, acknowledged it, put his headphones on, ignored it, and went to sleep. One of the most barbaric moves I have ever seen.
1. Mr. ‘Cell Phone Talker’ Guy
The uncontested champion. It takes some kind of animal to be THE biggest asshole on a bus full of 50 stressed out commuters. There’s so many other things you can do to earn yourself a spot other than number one. But this guy, THIS GUY, is hands down the absolute worst. If my phone rings on the bus, I either don’t answer or, quietly, say “I’m on the bus I’ll call you when I get home”. Nothing is that urgent that it can’t wait an hour. But some people, some inconsiderate cocksuckers, pay no mind to anyone else on the bus. It’s one thing to take a call on the bus. It’s a completely different thing to take a call, stay on the phone for 30 minutes, and speak loudly. There is NOTHING that warrants a 45 minute phone call at 7am, absolutely nothing. “Hey I’ll give you a call when I get to the office.” “Hi, I’m on the bus, shoot me an email.” That takes 10 seconds. It’s a bus, not the trading floor, dick. Instead, these monsters have the audacity to talk on the phone like it’s no big deal while 45 other passengers are trying to sleep. You would think they’d notice people looking around to see who’s making the noise. You would think they’d have some respect for other people who are (Were*) sleeping or reading on the bus. You would think they’d have some awareness about their surroundings. Nope. They are totally oblivious or total assholes. Or quite honestly both. They are terrible people. They are the biggest asshole you can commute with.