You want to know how fucked up I am?
I’ll tell you how fucked up I am.
I commute to work by bus four to five days a week. It’s about an hour’s ride, and I hate it because it’s monotonous, smelly, noisy, uncomfortable and inconvenient. I don’t know who designed bus seats, for example, but I think it might have been the fucking Nazis.
There is one compensation: Most of the time, the bus is half empty, and I have room to spread out, put on the noise-canceling headphones and doze. But sometimes, for no particular reason I can discern, the bus fills up and seats get scarce.
This makes me unhappy.
I hate sitting next to strangers.
Hate it, hate it, hate it.
I don’t want any bus friends, and I don’t like making small talk about the weather, politics or the economy when I could be sleeping. I especially don’t want to be forced to overhear the silly college students’ animated conversations about epistemology. Fuck epistemology. I don’t need to analyze how knowledge affects my beliefs and perceptions of truth. Plato, Socrates, Descartes and their epistemologically oriented buddies can go piss themselves. Handguns, cigarettes and Rush Limbaugh are bad and should be eliminated or, at the very least, disregarded. End of discussion. Class over. Now fuck off.
So, in order to protect myself from getting an unexpected seat buddy, I try to emit negative vibes that clearly communicate, “Don’t fucking sit next to me. I don’t care if this is the last open seat on the bus and you’re 89 fucking years old and pregnant with fucking triplets. Stand up for the next hour rather than sit next to me.”
I do this subtly—by putting on my sunglasses, closing my eyes and feigning sleep, scowling, and trying to look smelly or even contagious: “You don’t want to sit here! I’ve got syphilis! And it’s the new kind you can get just from sitting next to strangers on the bus!” I also refuse to move my backpack out of the empty seat next to me unless I’m asked, and I throw one leg out to the side like I fucking bought the seat next to me and the entire aisle it’s bolted to.
These tactics almost always work. Nobody dares to sit next to me.
But here’s where it gets weird for me.
As the bus lumbers from stop to stop and gradually fills up so much that people start taking any available seat except the one next to me, I inevitably start wondering, “Why isn’t anybody asking if this seat’s available? Am I that ugly and repulsive? Or am I scary, like the guy in the front row who mutters to himself and furiously scribbles notes on the backs of fliers he picked up at the bus stop? I don’t want to be shunned. Why won’t anybody sit here? What’s wrong with me?”
And that’s just fucked up. One part of my brain is loading the Ruger and psychically screaming, “Fuck off! Go away! You suck! Leave me alone!” And another part is getting misty and whimpering, “Take this seat! Pick me! I have a peanut butter sandwich in my backpack that we can share! Let’s talk about the weather—or epistemology, you decide!”
I don’t get it.
What am I, schizophrenic?
Maybe I need medication.
Or perhaps I should just skip the fucking bus and drive to work. I hate those people who ride the bus to work with me.
Although, to be honest, I might miss them a little, too. Especially Joe, Steve and Norman, those lugnuts.
Oh, for God’s sake!