I’m not much of a public transportation critic, but I’d say that this morning’s bus ride was unsatisfactory. It had nothing to do with the 350 pound woman who sat next to me, shoving her backpack into the veneer-like threshold between us, permitting me a space buffer of approximately 1.2 millimeters (less than a trusty bullet caliber) and the compression of my body into the area of (roughly) a burlap rucksack designed for someone of Twiggy’s physique. It had nothing to do with the extenuating circumstances of this. Because I was actually able to open my book and read, even if it involved an acute open book aperture angling approximately 27 degrees, with educated guesses on how sentences ended on the left page and began on the right page. (“It was a dark ______________. ____________ better things were afoot when the gentle ________________.”)
It had nothing to do with the bus arriving late, or the extremely crowded confines within, or the body odor and the vociferous cell phone conversations carried out over such substantial topics as Paris Hilton’s new TV show, of which I haven’t a damn scrap of knowledge about. It had nothing to do with what the MUNI ridership comes to collectively expect under these circumstances. I’m convinced that people have only the sweetest intentions at heart when they deliberately collide into your back and seethe, “Get out of my way, motherfucker.” And you respond with something along the lines of “Blessed are the peacemakers” or “Have it your way, my dear Boswell.” Of this, I remain irrevocably convinced.
No, the problem had much to do with the wavering velocity of the vehicle, the origin of which could be traced to a very militant driver who seemed to confuse a trundle up Market Street with the First Battle of Ypres. “Enter through the front,” she barked at some hapless passenger trying to garner pivotal square footage through the back door. I could only imagine what this driver would do with a Glock gun in her hand. The volatility was manifest in the bus’s motion. The bus alternately moved at a snail’s pace or hit the ground running with a sharp slam on the gas, followed by a sudden brake, buffeting people forward from time to time. I’m not sure if the physical results of this eccentric two-step can be adequately described outside of a dance floor, or if they have underlying value in an aerobic environment. But it did have a unifying effect on the passengers at large. We were united. United in contusions, united in bumping into the metallic seats in front of us, united in being terrified of the bus driver quite possibly working the thirteenth hour of her shift, though being paid a lot more than a lot of us.
Overall, I’d have to conclude that the bus ride was unsatisfactory.