Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bus Brat


Yep, it's official. I'm a bus snob.

Until recently, the only bus I ever caught was the Castle Hill to City bus because it's cheaper than parking. They're on time, clean and the clientele are usually either suits heading to work, Uni students, the odd tradie or on the weekend, families and shoppers going into the big smoke. But lately . . .

I'm working in a town called Parramatta which outside peak hour traffic is about 20 minutes clear drive. I get a lift in with my SIL at 7am but often, I don't need to wait until she finishes at 5:30 and leave work at about 4pm on the dreaded Parramatta to Rouse Hill bus.

Now this isn't the nice clean soapy smelling bus that frequents the city. It's a little 'nipper' of a bus trawling along the Windsor road, packed with school kids, shift workers, mums with strollers and lost souls who are trying to connect with the Hills District for a variety of reasons. By the time I reach my stop, it's all but empty apart from a few well-behaved schoolies who use it as a connection to get home - but there's something about the Parramatta to Baulkham Hills leg that attracts the crazys - it is bloody woeful.

There's always the screaming baby of a mother who looks like she's only just out of nappies herself and I just want to tap her on the shoulder and tell her to breastfeed the starving tyke NOW! Then there's the scruffy school kid with overly long streaked hair brushed across his eyebrows swearing like a trooper on his mobile phone and refusing to get up for the old lady with the X-Rays neatly tucked in her yellow envelope (and he's only about 12). There's the odd tradie in the hi viz sweater and man he's been sweating on the job all day - 24 hour deodorant man! Please! There's the garlic ridden Vietnamese or Chinese bus driver who drives like he's still negotiating his way around Ho Chi Min city so anyone who's standing is ricocheted to the front of the bus . . and he doesn't understand the words "Green Road please". I get charged something different every time I embark. Then there's the overly loud, grammatically grating, mobile phone girl up the back describing how much commission she made on her last Tupperware party and the man she . . .well trust me she didn't do things that a 'nice' girl would do . .

I hate it. I'm in there, pay my $4.20, $3.80 or $5.20 fare depending on the driver's mood and today, I was sat next to a rather plump, pale and freckly girl who had such bad eczema that her hands were bleeding. Ok she can't help that but . . she was biting her fingernails to the quick, picking her nose and I swear, fluffed a good half dozen times between Lennox Bridge and the Dick Smith Electronics Warehouse before another seat became available and I could move. You just don't fart on a bus babe!

I'm not even sure why I bother . . .it's a 'green' alternative, it's only marginally cheaper than actually finding a parking space . .but it's awful.

I can't put my finger on why the 601 from Parra is so disgusting. The city bus is a pleasure to ride, other buses from Parramatta at different times are also quite welcoming but this one . . it's filthy and small and smelly and an assault on the senses. Makes it almost worth hanging around with the junkies and homeless in Prince Alfred Park waiting for Steph to pick me up . .at least they're polite even if they are bumming cigarettes and asking for small change and trust me, they don't smell as bad!

I sound like a brat don't I?

32 comments:

Brian Miller said...

lol. have been on some pretty nasty buses in my day. think of all the good you are doing. time you are saving not waiting...ok, maybe put the iPod on and close your eyes and picture the clean bus...good luck! smiles.

Kath Lockett said...

Er yes.... :) Have you seen that old Far Side greeting card where a guy is sitting beside another presumably normal-looking guy and he's thinking, 'Dang, why do I always end up sitting with the weirdo?' .... but he doesn't know there's a real gargoyle coming up behind him.

You should try taking the Number 57 tram here in Melbourne ~shudder~. However I've started to realise that *I'm* probably the weirdo on my tram 'cos I always chat to the person I'm sitting next to or get asked for directions.

However unlike your bleeding excesma girl I DON'T FART. NOT ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT. Everywhere else, yes...

subtorp77 said...

Ach! Sounds like some of the buses we encountered, while in Peru. Only there, it seems 'twas also a transport for bloody farm animals! I mean, I've worked farms and all, but you just don't bring your chickens, goats, pigs or what-not on a conveyance meant for humans, wot? And it didn't matter who passed flatulence, in that thing!

RyanIAm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RyanIAm said...

Sorry, fixing spelling.

Well you see Baino, once you cross Old Windsor Road...

Miles McClagan said...

You need to get on the 2:27 to Warrane then....thems folks not right in the head...

nick said...

Oh I sympathise entirely, having been on some pretty squalid buses in my time. Particularly London buses, the ones here in Belfast are more civilised. Having had my share of drunks, druggies, nutcases and the malodorous, on routes that never go where you want them to go, and seldom at the advertised times, is it surprising so many people use cars instead?

Marianna said...

Oh my, I think I can smell it from the description :) I was on a bus like this one in Athens recently, awful really.

Oh and...I'm back lol lol
xoxo

Candie Bracci said...

Ha,brat,that word always makes me laugh!

btw,you've been tagged again,you're a Queen this time!

Ropi said...

When I attend school I use at least 4 buses per day, sometimes it is more and can go up to 8 (3 buses, 3 trams, 2 metros).

ebony said...

Haha. I liked how you described the poeple. I love busses and couldn't live without them. I use two busses a day and smile and greet the drivers!

Susan at Stony River said...

I've spent my life riding buses; boy you nailed the experience beautifully! Somewhere on my hard drive is a short story collection of bus stories, that I've been wanting to compile into some sort of tied-together novel. Now I think I'm going to dust it off again and see what I can make of it. So keep passing on the character descriptions and stories please! LOL

The best way to get/keep a seat all to yourself is to go all glassy-eyed, rock side to side, and whimper endlessly to the Voices, pleading for your life. That, or hold a bible and armful of Watchtowers, and beg everyone who gets on the bus to sit next to you please-please-please-please-an'-let-me-tell ya-'bout'-JESUS! Those both work for me anyhow.

Don't Bug Me! said...

I used to have to ride a couple of rather dodgy buses. One time a man got on the bus on carrying a rather large bag, threatening to kill everyone and their children. Apparently, he knew where all the gas lines were - the bus driver did nothing. On another day I sat next to a lovely lady who spent most of the trip licking the window. I was very happy when I moved away from that route. I am even happier now that I have a car and I don't even have to feel guilty about driving it, since there is no public transport from where I live to where I work.

Leah said...

One of my fave posts, this is brilliant, waaaaay too vivid. Some of the Brooklyn buses, yep, I hear you. Specially in summer. Ergh. I say take the car.

Mrsupole said...

Yes, I say try the watchtower one and take the bible with you. Hey you may even eventually force them to take another bus. That would be good cause then maybe you would have better quality people show up to take the bus. Or you just have to accept that is how the bus is. Oh wow I just got a flash of a man wanting you to get a tattoo, a big tattoo. Oh well maybe you should just act stranger than they are and they will switch.

Otherwise just take the car. A lot better experience.

God bless.

Grannymar said...

At least on the bus you get plenty of blog fodder!

Happy traveling.

Ronda Laveen said...

Last fall, my nephew wanted see some of the states on a bus. We rode Greyhound, a major bus line, from California to Colorado. Yoiks! Never again. Those drivers are like prison guards and every bit as power tripped.

Sandy Kessler said...

meet your vrat twin kid sandy

Thom said...

Susan from Stony River sent me here. As a city bus driver here in Honolulu I just cracked up at this. Imagine putting in an 8 hour shift with all this nonsense. I would have a best seller on my hands :) Aloha

Colette Amelia said...

Wow you move! I always thought it would be too obvious and rude to move and might insult the crazy...

yes riding the bus you are thrown together with all sorts that you would not normally consort with.

I do kind of miss it now. I did meet some lovely people.

Melanie said...

now you must know by now Im a sick in the head greeny but rooly and trooly mate DRIVE lol. at least make sure you get your hep b vaccinations if you persist with that particular route. You are not a snob or a brat at all....argh and people who fart on a bus should get out and propel themselves home with their own gas.

Ces said...

Well, if you pronounced it correctly maybe the Chinese or Vietnamese driver will know that you want to go to Gleen Load please!

Bimbimbie said...

No you're not a brat and thanks for bringing back the pain of the 3:30pm and 6am trains I used to take.

Contact Parramatta council and compliment them on their 601 ;)

steph said...

One of the few advantages of being able to smell nuttin' :-)

River said...

Not being a driver, I've been riding the buses in every city I've ever lived in. For most of us who do this there is no other option. We each learn to cope in our own way. Some, like me, have our i-pods firmly plugged in and spend the trip either reading or staring out the window. Others simply stare into space. Some are studying, some surreptitiously eating from bags hidden in their handbags. I can sympathise with you, but I think it's a little (just a teeny bit) unfair to be judging fellow passengers. The young mum with the screaming baby? She may have been older than she looks, the baby may have had something else going on instead of hunger. The eczema girl may have been on some type of elimination diet to find the cause of the eczema, causing the flatulence which is sometimes impossible to hold. I'm with you on the 24-hour deodorant thing though. He's possibly one of those who only wear deodorant on special occasions, or maybe wears the same clothes day after day until the weekly wash is done. So while he himself is fresh, his clothes aren't. Anyway, enough nitpicking from me, just be thankful you get a seat, over here it's often standing room only.

Kate said...

Oh dear and you make it sound soooo attractive - do yourself a favour Baino - take the car.... at least you only have yourself to travel with!! Let the cringeworthy travellers irritate each other and not you!!!
Hope tomorrows better!!!!

kj said...

baino, haha, the 601 bus left its manners at the station. i get this picture totally: you've described it so vividly plus been there, done that.

i'm glad you're working and i know you are too, but first the lofty lunchroom crew and now the scuffy bus crew: maintain your standards, girl!!

xo

Renee said...

Yes you sound like a brat, like a brat exactly like me.

I use to be the same way when I went to work. But I have to tell you I have the weakest stomach in the world and that all would have made me have to leave the bus.

I laughed that you have Oh Canada stuck in your mind. Nice song. har har...

Love Renee xooxo

laughingwolf said...

aw quitcher bragging, baino :O lol

me, i'd drive....

Christopher said...

I will never complain about riding the bus again. Not that I complained about it that much to begin with. The university I work for pays my bus fare as long as I'm going to and from work, and the buses are typically clean, the drivers are friendly, and while it's a nice hike from my house to where I catch the bus it's not unbearable.

My only complaint is that Nashville recently eliminated some bus routes. It didn't affect me and I have a car anyway, but I worry about people who can't afford a car and depend on the bus to get around. For some of them the eliminated routes will mean they could lose their jobs.

Baino said...

Yeh, I'm a snob alright but one bus saves 50 cars so I can feel all sanctimonious inside. Actually it's not that bad. I'm getting used to it. And I'm sorry I was so judgemental re exzema girl but she picked her nose!

Yesterday I was standing ready to get off as he bus screamed to a halt and two schoolboys bashed into the back of me. We agreed that he's the most jerky, worst bus driver ever and so rude! Poor kids have to catch it every day and watch little old ladies being catapulted towards the windscreen he brakes so hard!

Cuppa Jo said...

Yes, but it makes for such an interesting blog post.