Sunday, July 7, 2013

Road from Misanthropy

Every time I tell a car owner that I prefer public transport they always say the same thing to me, they say 'Ryan, you just don’t understand. I hate public transport. When you start driving, you'll change your mind'. Even though they were wrong and I still prefer a bus over a dollar thirty per litre and thousands more a year for a bunch of ‘juuust in case this happens’, there is still one thing that I hate about public transport which driving helps eliminate: being near other human beings.

There are some days where I’ll wake up and the birds will be chirping and the burgeoning sunlight will be just flooding my 1950-esque kitchen and I’ll have this impulse burning inside to stab the first arsehole that annoys me. Needless to say, those days are pretty dark. So in that regard, I really enjoy the passive aggressiveness that comes with driving a capsule that shields me from the rest of the world. Even when some twat wants to get out of their car and criticise me for not driving the illegal speed that they want to, they can’t touch me; if I ramp the volume knob on my radio passed halfway, I don’t even have to listen to their bullshit! Gift from the gods.


The Footpath Race
Firstly, I’ve lived in my neighbourhood my entire life, and what would be the point of living somewhere for over two decades if you aren’t going to make some enemies. Unfortunately, those enemies do in fact leave the house sometimes, and they do so by catching my fucking bus! Normally, there aren’t many scenarios that I can think up where I would voluntarily share the same air as some of these jerks, but a bus just puts me right there...with them! It’s seven in the morning and there they are, awkward and tense, just like me! It’s the end of an exhausting day and there they are, practically on top of me! And it’s never a manageable amount of tension either, it’s the type that if you tugged on it, it would snap like a rubberband.

And I know what you’re thinking, you think it just ends with the bus ride, but na, na! Some of these people live in my street, like the infamous girl down the street. Can you believe it? Of all the places! What this means is that we share a bus stop, and suddenly the footpath home becomes a mono-lane raceway. We’re both thinking the same thing: who’s going to get off the bus first? I wonder if it’s worth getting off at a later stop and getting some exercise? How the fuck am I going to get passed this person on the footpath without it being weird? In fact, for me personally, I hate overtaking anyone on the footpath for that matter. You know, I’ve got to speed it up, I’ve have to go off-road for a moment, there might be a ditch in the grass, sometimes they’ll match your speed and then you’re just awkwardly stuck walking next to them; it’s awkward.


She Doesn’t Wanna Sit!
When you're a boy, you get taught that it’s gentlemenly to forfeit your seat for a lady, and I still follow that to this very day...well, vaguely. What they don’t teach you is that sometimes the bitch won’t want to sit down! Then the end-result is that I’m left standing like a dickhead, she’s standing there not sitting, meanwhile there is this vacant seat right there, neither of us are sitting on it and I fucking hate her guts! This is an innocent lady who has done nothing to me and I hate her now. All the while, she has no idea that the inner-Ryan is just thrashing around in there, hating on her, yelling expletives, probably about the Blacks and the Greeks.

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The problem is that I’m too stubborn to ask beforehand. I’ll never enquire as to whether or not they want to sit, because they’ll just say no! We're all too emotionally-flawed (or intellectually-retarded) by proper etiquette to accept what’s offered to us, ever noticed that? 'Want my seat?' 'No thanks I’m fine' meanwhile, inside the lady’s probably like 'fuck me, these heels are barkin’!'. So if they're just going to do that, then they're fucked if they think that I’m going to ask the same question twice a day for the rest of my life, only to be turned down majority of the time! A man can only take so much rejection!

What I’m getting at is that I may soon boycott the whole being a gentlemen-commuter thing.


The Aisle-Seat
Finally, when you sit on the aisle of any form of public transport, you’ve just entered into an unspoken socially-binding contract called the ‘Get the Fuck Up contract’. It stipulates that when the people next to you need to get up, you get the fuck up!

Pretty please!!!

Where this contract is particularly vital, and I may punch you if this is where you choose to break it, is at a three-seater on our Sydney trains. I don’t care enough to know what the seating arrangement is on the choos in other cities, but in the main seating area of our trains here, this is how it goes: two-seater, aisle, three-seater and maybe a misery-seat near the stairs (picture above). Why it’s important here is if you choose to sit on the end of one of these three-seaters, you hold the responsibility of not one, but two fellow-commuters on your back. So if you don’t get up and the guy at the window wants to get out, you’re not only being an arsehole yourself, but you make the guy in the middle feel and look like an arsehole too. He can’t get up! He may want to get up, but you’ve tangled him in your contract-breaking, fuckhead net (eBay it). So now the middle-guy has to helplessly watch window-guy struggle passed two people with his bag in hand and his knees cripplingly-contorted between your knees and the back of the seat in front. It’s not easy, but with some thought, it’s easily-avoidable.

I know people try to squeeze further back into their chair or they angle their legs as an alternative to getting up, but this only really awards the person trying to escape nothing more than a measly extra inch of space. Another problem too is that you have no time to talk about it when you’re trying to get out. You can’t argue and then get off. You’re pulling up to your stop! You’re train driver is just waking up from his nap! You have no time to explain the contract or you’ll miss your stop! So, it’s either principle or get off at the desired stop, and that’s a hard decision for me.

Yeah, I know you’re tired, and I’m tired too. Mornings I could kill a guy and afternoons I could sleep on a guy, sometimes I’ll have my laptop open in front of me, but the only answer when somebody needs to get off their seat is to get the fuck up!


So, public transport really isn’t ideal when you’re trying to curtail your exposure with the human race; it’s just one big misanthropic-adventure. Financially-speaking however, public transport is still at the top of my list of preferred forms of transport, banging for a ride coming in at a close-second. If saving some money means that I have to deal with some arseholes along the way, that’s fine, I’ll have to deal with other ones on the road anyway, so it makes no difference.

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