If a bus were a board game these would be the rules: You get on the bus, pay, and find a comfortable seat where you remain for the duration of your journey. Realistically if a bus were actually a game, it would also be the kind of game in which no one ever wins and there’s always one family member who ends up chucking all their tokens across the room and flipping the board over in sulky frustration.
I am that family member, and that’s how I feel on buses. Here are the colourful variety of nightmares in human form that engage with me via public transport in the only way they know how – being unbearably annoying.
1. THE STARING ELDERLY PERSON – Let’s be honest, they only real reason they left the house today was so they could come and sit on a bus and gaze unflinchingly into the confused eyes of a stranger. And possibly check out an M&S sale on beige stockings. But mostly the bus thing.
If I had a penny for every time I had a staring contest with an elderly lady dressed to the nines in pastel loafers and cream coloured socks, I’d have approximately £3.50 by now. More or less.
2. THE “ECCENTRIC” – There’s always at least one of these. You know who I’m talking about. With a constant twitching eye, they’re completely convinced they’ve been reincarnated as a rare mythical creature, and thus decide to share the inner workings of their labyrinthian mind with the entire bus.
Generally by meowing incessantly and/or talking to their left hand like a demented ventriloquist and/or loudly bursting into laughter without a hint of remorse. And on a near empty bus the only seat they want is the one next to yours. Buckle up, it’s going to be an interesting ride.
3. THE STATUE – This one’s not entirely learnt how a bus works yet. The ultimate point of a bus not being a small solo cubicle on wheels is so you have space to move along to the back and allow others to share in the misery of being on a moving vehicle with you.
But instead this guy decides to weld himself to the railings by the stairs, thus turning the vehicle into an angry congregated blood clot of passengers. Why stand when you can sit, statue man? You will forever be a mystery to me.
4. THE THUG – No they won’t pay the bus fare bruv, they’re too gangsta for that. Instead the only devious plan they can formulate is to run to the top of the double decker and hide until the driver either just drives away or turns the engine off and forces them to sheepishly come back down and pay.
And did you see them put their feet on the seats? Oh yeah, in your face. They went there, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Cower in the face of their badass-ery.
5. THE PREMATURELY DEAF – So I see you like music. I see you like it quite a bit. You like it so much that you’ve decided to turn the volume on your phone up to full blast, so that everyone on the bus can be a part of the song that’s shredding through your earphones right now.
You’re also so eager to share the love with everyone that you’ll even risk giving yourself permanent tinnitus and deafening every man, woman, child and pet within a 12 mile radius. Why stop there? Surely if you want to share you music with others the inevitable next step is to purchase a megaphone.
Soon people in other time zones will be able to share in the glory that is your favourite Armin Van Buuren track.
6. THE INDIGNANT RELIGIOUS ONE – They have some sort of radar tracking device that notifies them when I get on a bus. Every time… Don’t even get me started.
7. THE ‘MY-BAG-NEEDS-A-SEAT-TOO’ – Don’t lie to yourself, we’ve all done this at some point. The bus is relatively empty, so you put your bag on the aisle seat next to you to ward off any potential oddballs seeking refuge in an empty space (see above), and it makes complete sense that if someone wants that seat they’ll ask you to move.
Right? Yes, this is a very feasible plan, until you’re the one who needs a seat. Then it’s not so fun when every free seat is camoflauged with a frilly purse or a soggy Sainsburys carrier bag or a giant satchel, and by the graciousness of your very British nature you won’t ask anyone to move because you feel like an awkward smorgasbord of a human being whenever you have to do anything that requires using more than two apologetic syllables.
8. THE NEGLECTFUL MOTHER – If there were a sports day in which all these kinds of passengers competed in, by hurtling themselves toward the finish line of annoyance, the Neglectful Mother would come first place every year. FOREVER.
Their child is signalling in the apocalypse with a squeal that appears to transcend all notions we ever had about decibels, and altering the laws of science in the process. But this ever-doting mum still hasn’t achieved a decent enough high score on Candy Crush yet. Or told her mate over the phone what her ex said to her on Facebook the other night about that thing that he did that one time and Tracey totally knows about it cus, like, how could she not.
Or is just gazing out the window into a faraway, untold utopian dream where there are no children and mums tumble through meadows holding hands and laughing because they’re finally free of the demon child clawing its way out of the pram. But meanwhile your hair is falling out from the sheer volume of her child’s howling, and you wish she would just put down her phone and attend to her bouncing bundle of joy.
Instead you just stare out the window, sigh loudly, and wish you could afford a taxi. Living the life, you are.