Written by Heather Foley (originally posted in 2012)
I started a new job in September, and for the first time since the Southie shuttle to Boston Latin, I’m regularly taking public transportation. And here’s the crazy part: I don’t hate it. Honestly, it’s not that terrible.
I get about 15 minutes each way completely to myself. I can read, meditate, nap, listen to music, practice The Secret, and really do whatever I want to do for 15 beautiful minutes. As with anything in life, it’s not all bliss all the time. There’s always going to a doofus or two who don’t know how to behave and ruin what would have otherwise been a perfectly relaxing bus ride. Are you the aforementioned doofus? Then read this. Know a doofus? Read this and then send it to them. Even if you think you are in no way shape or form a doofus or know any doofuses (doofi?), you should still read this, because maybe everyone thinks you’re a doofus, I don’t know.
Remember you’re on a bus. Sounds simple, right? I mean how could you forget you’re on a bus? You paid to get on, you’re sitting on a plastic seat surrounded by strangers dressed for work, where the hell else would you be? Well if it’s so obvious you’re on a bus why are so many dopes yapping on their phones like they’re in their living room?
Guess what, no one on the #7 cares that you got smashed at STATS, they found a bed for your cousin, or your last one-night stand stole all your jewelry. You may think you’re using your indoor voice but we can all hear you, so why don’t you wait till you get home to call your boyfriend and tell him you’re two weeks late, cool?
You get one seat and one seat only. You have one ass, so you get one seat. It’s simple math. I know the seats are narrow and we have all sorts of crap with us to survive the day, but you only get one seat. It’s so damn selfish, get over yourself! Put your bags on your lap and let someone sit next to you. I know it sucks if you have a lot of stuff (I always have at least my big work bag and my big lunch bag, so I get it) but you don’t get to take up two seats. And while I’m talking about bags, don’t put your giant backpack on the floor blocking the isle; put that sucker on your lap.
Remember your old-school manners. Most of the people on the bus in the morning appear to be youngish and perfectly healthy, and I find it pretty gross when someone elderly or pregnant gets on the bus and people pretend to not see them. You see them, I know you do, and instead of looking all around or pretending to be suddenly engrossed in your NOOK, stand up and say: “Please, have a seat.” And I’m talking both men and women here, offer your seat (or at least sit all the way at the back so you’ll never be put in the position, not that that’s what I do, at all). And feminism be damned, there is nothing cuter than a gentleman offering a chick his seat; you really should do it more often.
Hygiene. Another should-be no-brainer, but it has to be said. Some buses are packed like sardines, and we owe it to the people we are crammed up next do to do everything in our power to not smell like hot garbage. If you work out before you jump on the bus, please shower. If you ate something stinky, please brush your teeth, twice. If you boozed your face off the night before have the decency to sweat all of it out before taking any public transportation. And last but not least, take a Q-tip and clean out your ears. Years ago I sat behind a woman who had the grossest, waxiest ears I have ever seen; it still haunts me to this day. Oh, and the other end of the spectrum, take it easy on the perfume and cologne; your Axe body spray makes me want to vomit.
So that’s it, for today. Sure I could have gone into more detail, split hairs about things like iPod volume, loudly spoiling a show I DVR-ed the night before, or letting your annoying kid push the next stop thingy the whole ride, but I think I hit the big four. If we can just get everyone to follow these basic rules, I think we’ll all be sitting pretty. Remember: the T had to take out ads to remind people to cover their mouths when they sneezed. Clearly, work needs to be done. And with the MBTA being in the news for increasing fares and cutting service, maybe they want to read this and make it their official commuter policy. People might be less upset about paying an extra twenty-five cents if they know they won’t be gagging on Designer Imposters body spray for their entire commute.