For the past six months, I have belonged to a rare species at my college: the commuter. Please try and contain your gasps of horror. I’m a pleb, I know. For six months now, I have been commuting to and from the glorious University of Limerick, which involves an hour, every morning and every evening, being stuck on the most glamorous, highly efficient and punctual form of public transport possible; the bus. The one place where you come face to face with the physical embodiment of your pet peeves. The daily bus commute to college is, quite frankly, a pain in my bus-ride induced numb derrière. I’m tired, hungry, not in a good mood, and the last thing I want to do is get on a packed and sweaty bus for an hour. But being a regular commuter, I have now become familiar with the personalities that you come across quite often on the daily bus journey. These are real life people of flesh and blood, and an incredible talent for making everyone’s life difficult, who I’m sure we have all encountered at one point or another.
We would all love nothing more than to be tucked up in our bed, fast asleep, but for some, the bus is the next best thing. There must be something about a jerky transit ride coupled with the faint smell of urine to lull this commuter into a peaceful slumber. If you are unfortunate enough to be sitting beside said sleeper, then prepare to be used as their personal pillow as your blazer kindly acts as the towel for their drool. And so the panic ensues; do you wake them up? Do you leave them? Do you buy a bike and hope this never happens to you again? But usually, you just suffer in silence and hope they wake up. Soon.
This inevitably happens after a long, tough day when all you want to do is tune out and count down the minutes until you get to the couch and return to your natural state of couch potato. Despite your burning desire for peace and quiet and against your better judgement, you end up engaging with them, because the guilt becomes too much. Even though deep down you don’t want to talk to the divorced, voice of Ireland auditionee, didgeridoo playing weird old man and hear about his life. Even if he did have some funny stories… I will never look at a Starbucks cup the same way again.
The Teenage Boys, Otherwise Known as The “Youth”.
There is something about a large group of teenage boys on public transit that gets them all revved up. They enter the bus at the same stop and much like the bacteria that lives in your three-week old cup of tea in your room, infect all corners of the bus until all passengers are severely pissed off. They occupy their time by shouting across to each other, “Will you meet my friend?” or in more extreme circumstances, which happen a lot more than you would think, will attempt to establish the alpha male of the group by displaying their strength and prowess in the weirdest staring contest ever. The wonders of an overpriced vehicle of public transportation. Do not make eye contact unless you want to risk getting pathetically verbally abused.
The Space Hogger.
We all like to spread out. We all like our space. We all enjoy the freedom and thrill of taking up the space of two or three seats. Nothing beats having a seat free beside you to put your bag on, but in reason. But this is just not on. And let me tell you, there’s always one. They take up both seats, even though they can see that the bus is close to breaking a health and safety violation because it’s so full. They think that their bag is a person that needs its own seat more than you, a hard working student. Inside you’re thinking “don’t make me ask you to move your bag. Don’t make me be that person. Don’t force me to talk to a stranger on the bus.” Or perhaps they’re ‘saving it’ for their friend, who just so happens to be getting on after your stop. 10 stops after your stop. Or maybe they have a stop coming up soon and are sitting on the outside seat to ensure maximum speed when leaving this godforsaken people carrier. All the while you’re left looking longingly at the seat.
The One Who Talks Insanely Loud on The Phone.
This person is someone who has loud, intimate and unnecessary conversations on their phone, forcing everyone else to hear about their dog’s terminal illness or their upcoming bunion removal surgery, “the doctor says it’s an aggressive fungus!” They make you suffer through several repetitions of “SORRY, I’M ON A BUS SO I CAN’T REALLY HEAR YOU PROPERLY”, even though the rest of us can hear you loud and clear. Honestly, is there anything more genuinely annoying than a person who insists on talking loudly and obnoxiously on their phone on an otherwise quiet bus? Indoor voices, people. Perhaps the offender is so self-centered they don’t realise that the people around them actually don’t want to hear their conversation. Or, if they do, perhaps they don’t care. It’s irrelevant really, because you still have to suffer through it, sharing a communal, “can you believe your one?” look with your fellow passengers.
There’s talking on the phone, and then there’s talking to someone else on the bus. With the latter, you get both sides of the story. How lucky are we! Oh, you had kinky sex last night? Well that’s great, but could you please have this conversation about your weird fetishes with your friend somewhere else, far far away where no one can hear you, and maybe not with 45 people on the 7:43 bus to Limerick? Thanks.
Eating food in restricted places shouldn’t be allowed. That tuna sandwich may have smelt lovely in your mother’s house, but the fishy stink of your mother’s love for you in a bus is wrong. I’m nauseous enough without your burrito stinking up the place. Also, if you could stop eating like a cow chewing cud, that would be much appreciated.