It took 6 short months at my first job to be completely fed up with the daily NYC commute. Until you actually do it, it’s tough to truly empathize with the commuters. We’re all part of a sad, depressing, sometimes suicidal club that we don’t want to be in. Tensions are high, patience is low, the agenda remains very much the same. We sit in silence (most of the time) at the mercy of only our driver and the rush hour traffic. The lucky ones who are fortunate to have a shorter commute may not even realize that I have an extra 4 hours tacked onto my work day (two on each end). So next time you’re complaining about your job, think about the pathetic group of commuters who stress about their job and have a 2 hour ride home to think about aforementioned anxiety-ridden job.
Since going on a brief hiatus from my retirement, I’ve been back on the grind and I’ve been re-introduced to my disdain for specific types of commuters. The commute itself sucks, no ifs ands or buts about it. But it is what it is, and I tell everyone that if the commute is the worst part of my day then that’s a good sign in terms of my job. Perspective. Read about it. It’s the people that really get under my skin. And to really harness my inspiration for this piece, I have written it in its entirety during multiple commutes. It wouldn’t have had the same raw emotion or passion had I put pen to paper from the comfort of my couch. A crowded bus in an uncomfortable seat is much more of my style. I’m basically a method actor.
The first edition laid out a list of 10 of the worst kinds of commuters. An additional 10 months worth of bus rides back and forth to Manhattan, in conjunction with my brain, have generated a second set of 10 plus 2 bonus submissions. That’s twelve more. Can you believe it? I almost can’t believe it. If I didn’t come up with them myself I wouldn’t have believed it. If you’re too lazy to click and surf through the above link, here are the original Top 10 Worst People To Commute With:
Mr. ‘Cell Phone Talker’ Guy
Mr. ‘Seat-All-The-Way-Back’ Guy
Guy who complains about seat being all the way back
Mr. ‘Elbow Space Breacher’ Guy
Mr. ‘Gets Upset When You Ask To Move His Bag So You Can Sit In The Otherwise Empty Seat’ Guy
Mr. ‘On-And-Off-The-Brakes Bus Driver’ Guy
Mr. ‘Falls Asleep In The Aisle Seat So Nobody Asks To Sit Window’ Guy
Guy who watches videos without headphones
Mr. ‘Makes The Driver Stop Somewhere That’s Not A Real Stop’ Guy
The guy who eats a full meal on the bus
It was an uphill battle in pitting them against each other and ranking those assholes. With the addition of more people to the list, I’ve decided they’re all tied for first. In their own unique way, each characteristic on this list is worse than all others in some capacity. You can continue reading under the impression that all of these people are, in fact, the worst. I speak on behalf of all commuters when I say that we’re not looking for sympathy. But at the same time, give us a fucking break. So without further ado or any additional small talk, here are twelve more of the worst commuters with a brief tale as to why.
Disclaimer: none of these roles are gender specific. They are titled “guy” because in my experience the vast majority of these violators are of the male species.
Bus drivers who blast the AC
It could be 95 degrees or the dead of winter. The bus is freezing cold. Most drivers fire up the air conditioning like it’s a goddamn meat locker. I’ve never been able to make sense of it other than the possibility that they’re trying to keep people awake? But when it’s 6:30 in the morning, everyone wants to sleep. There’s not much worse than an early morning ride to the city and you can’t sleep because you’re rapidly approaching hypothermia. No joke people wear jackets during the summer solely for the AM bus ride. I have a light rain jacket with me at all times for solely this reason. Meanwhile it’s 95 degrees outside. Fuck you, bus drivers who blast the air conditioning.
The “I’m out of work so it’s totally fine if my phone is on full volume” guy
This one really is describing the older demographic, despite most commuters fitting that demo anyway. Most parents don’t even know how to turn the sound on or off on their phone, but that technological ineptness doesn’t excuse violating social code. The buttons click when they type, the new email sound is going off every three seconds, meanwhile they don’t care/don’t realize. The button-click noise shouldn’t even be a feature on any phone, but there’s no reason for anybody else to hear it. I know it’s a problem when I can hear your phone beeps and clicks through my own headphones. Unbelievable. Have some decency one time. Or just get headphones like the rest of the world.
The guy who puts his light on but doesn’t have a book.
Bruhhhh. Not cool, man. Hey if you want to read your book, by all means, turn that sucker on. I read quite often on the bus (not to brag). I always feel a little bad about it, but you literally cannot get mad at someone for using a light so they can read. And if you have an issue with people who read books, that’s nothing more than you projecting on your own insecurities. But turning your light on just to have some light on you is against the rules as far as I’m concerned. Your phone has a light on it. Besides reading and being on your phone/computer, the only other thing to do on the bus is sleep, an activity most effective in darkness based on my 24+ years of experimentation. Maybe you got on the bus and the light was already on; that’s entirely possible. But you gotta be alert and cognizant of the fact that the person next to you is very much affected by that same light.
The Guy Who’s Friends With Everyone.
They’ve been taking the bus every single day for thirty years. It’s a miracle they haven’t completely snapped one day and killed everyone on the bus right before driving the bus off of a cliff. But they’ve become so accustomed to the commuter life that they act like they’re friends with everyone. They board the same time every morning and afternoon and HAVE TO say hello to everyone they walk past who they walk past every day. They HAVE TO let you know that they know you and you know them and you’re stuck in the rate race together. It truly seems like they want to show other people that they have friends on the bus. Almost to say “I’ve been doing this thing longer than you’ve been alive for”. Okay? They’re friends with everyone but they project that in an arrogant way. They’re so sucked into the work lifestyle that they don’t even know how miserable they are on the inside. Sad!
That guy who tries to get off before everyone else.
This is a forgivable offense for rookie riders. But for anyone who rides the bus this is a reprehensible act. It is deplorable. It is disgraceful. And it’s against the unwritten Commuter’s Code of Ethics established all those years ago. If you want to get off first, sit in the first seat. Each staggered row gets off after the next. If you get stuck in the back row, you’re getting off last. That’s how it works. You can’t cut the line, you line cutter. Ever see someone order their food from the back of the line at McDonald’s because the person in front hadn’t opened their mouth yet? No. Because it’s fucking wrong. The guy who gets up 20 seconds before the bus gets to a stop so that he can walk to the front and be the first person to get off is as big of an asshole as ANYBODY. If you’re late for work, the extra 26 seconds of waiting on the bus is not making any impact. I don’t care who you are. If you’re that important you wouldn’t be riding the bus with us, dick. Fuck you, man.
The guy sitting next to you in the window seat who asks you to get up BEFORE THE BUS STOPS because he’s getting off.
Also known as the guy who wants to be the guy who tries to get off before everyone else. This happens way more often than it should. Bus is approaching a stop and the guy next to me is going to be getting off. Must be nice, everyone else has an extra 20 minutes making stops every quarter mile down Route 9. The guy says he’s getting off and makes a gesture hinting to me that he wants to get into the aisle. Ha! So you want ME to get up while the bus is moving, essentially putting myself at risk to lose my balance, all so YOU can walk to the front of a CROWDED bus and get off approximately 12 seconds before you would have had you not so rudely asked me to get up. No shot. Take your bullshit to the train.
The guy who anonymously “Shhh!” ‘s someone who’s talking.
This is a classic adult move. Adults love shushing people, especially during mass transportation. It is such a ridiculous concept to attempt to quiet someone on a crowded bus with a “shhh”, only to then not own up to it out of fear of confrontation. Is it right for people to talk on the bus when most people are sleeping? Absolutely not. But you either have to deal with it or ask them to be quiet. You can’t have it both ways. Enough with the petty grade school antics. Grow up.
The guy who presses the STOP button for the first stop.
What are you doing? Have you ever been on the bus before in rush hour? It literally says where the bus is stopping first on the bus when you get on. Express to Gordon’s Corner means that the bus is going to Gordon’s Corner. Nobody needs to press the STOP button, you idiot. Half the bus is getting off at the first stop. Do you really think if nobody presses the button that the driver is going to just blow right past it? Don’t be a hero. The only hero we need is the driver to get us to that stop as fast as possible.
The guy who doesn’t adjust his AC vent that’s pointed elsewhere when he gets on the bus.
Most of the time when I get on the bus, the AC unit above my seat is closed. If not, it’s usually pointed at me. But there are times where the vent is pointed at the adjacent seat or even towards the seat in front. It is your civic duty as a commuter to make sure that the vent is pointed at you or pointed nowhere at all. If you allow your cold air to blow onto someone else, in doing so you qualify as a Grade-A asshole. Have some decency, man. You don’t have to like the person you’re sitting next to, but you also can’t freeze em out. Oh and if you ever see someone take control of both AC vents, you have my full permission to punch them square in the nose. I don’t think anyone else would mind either as that’s what we, in the streets, call a “dick move”.
The guy who gets up as if he’s getting off but in actuality he’s only moving to another seat.
This drives me absolutely NUTS. It probably doesn’t bother other people. In fact, most people probably don’t even notice this ever happening. But nothing gets by me, I see everything. Head on a swivel always alert, even after a long day’s work. What a hero I am. I’ll paint the picture for anyone who’s never commuted and can’t visualize this scenario. Bus pulls up to a stop, and people get up from their seats. The guy in front of me appears to be getting off of the bus, but no, he does not. He simply moved to a different seat so that he could finish off his ride in a seat with nobody next to him. He couldn’t wait until everyone had gotten off. God forbid he has to sit next to another person for a few minutes. By the time we get to a stop, most of the ride is done anyway. Home stretch baby, just stick it out. It’s just a selfish move that irritates me to no end.
The guy who brings luggage onto the bus.
They have those massive compartments below the bus for exactly that purpose. They’re luggage storage compartments. There’s nothing more inconvenient than some jerkoff who has a suitcase or a big bag that they feel is appropriate to keep in the aisle. No doubt is it awkward to have to ask the driver to open up the below storage, but that doesn’t mean they can go against every single rule in the book and struggle to get down the aisle on the bus because they’re carrying big bags. Just because nobody else has any extra stuff taking up space doesn’t give you the right to exploit that. Gotta follow the protocol. Bus driver has to step in and refuse them as a passenger unless their shit goes below deck.
The guy who gets off the bus and leaves his seat leaned back.
Not only is this the worst thing you can do on a bus, this guy is a Top 5 Worst Person in general. I’m hard pressed to come up with anything that makes my blood boil more. When you get off the bus, your seat HAS to come back upright. You’re giving the person behind you extra leg room, and it’s also the right thing to do if you’re a reasonable human. The way these scumbags act, you’d think they are taking the bus all by themselves. No regard for anybody else. No care for decency or decorum. No knowledge of what’s right and wrong. All they care about is reclining as far as they want and getting off the bus because then it’s someone else’s problem. Fuck you. Sometimes I feel as if people were raised by wolves based on their lack of courtesy for other people.
And there you have it. Another list of assholes. If you just sit down and avoid doing anything to bother someone, you’re golden. The less interaction with another human, the better off you’ll be. And everyone else will appreciate it.