Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Public Transport Diaries: Day 1

Walked thirty seconds from home up to the bus stop only to see a bus pulling into the stop to let a passenger off. Started to run, hoping the driver would see me in the side rear vision mirror, but the doors closed… Then they opened again. He must have seen me! When I got on the bus the driver said, ‘good timing’. I said, ‘I think I got lucky. Thank you’. I sat down next to someone who was doing their make-up. A girl sitting in front of me had very high heels on with a faux snake skin and suede design. I reflected that I have never worn shoes with high heels on any kind of regular basis (outside of the court shoe fashions of my sixteenth year), and that I would unlikely be able to walk in such shoes.

In the city, I made my way to the University bus stop after buying a blueberry bran muffin for breakfast. Began to walk quickly to the waiting Rocket service (no stops to the University). Saw a girl run up to its door, only to have it close in her face. The bus was only one third full. Boarded the City Express service (selected stops to the University), also waiting, and noted that it was nearly full. The driver of the Rocket service requires a smack. S/he obviously turned up at the last minute—people had already boarded the slower bus—then had taken off with no regard for the passengers that would be left behind on the way to the University because the slower service was too full with people who could have caught the Rocket.

I think that being rostered to drive on a Rocket service should be a privilege for bus drivers, since there is little work involved in filling a bus with University students who have pre-paid tickets. Where do they get these drivers who don’t want to do anything, even when they have to do very little? Why don’t they care about their colleagues who have to deal with the consequences of their laziness? As for those drivers who close the door in your face—quite deliberately—they should imagine they’re leaving their own children or other loved ones stranded on the sidewalks, running late for classes and appointments, all because they couldn’t be bothered.

Decided to leave the University at 5.00pm to go shopping. I am in desperate need of groceries at home. I should have left earlier to avoid the rush, but got caught up in searching recalcitrant databases and figuring out the less dubious uses of content analysis as a methodology.

Squashed onto a bus with 99 other people. I sat up the front of the bus in a seat that’s too big for one, but not enough for two and personal space as well. I have no clue why I continue to choose this particular seat to sit in. I always feel guilty—and fat—because another person can’t fit beside me. If someone sits on the seat, but with their legs in the aisle, then another seat is created. That’s what a girl with stylish glasses and beautiful skin did today. She asked, ‘You don’t mind if I sit here?’

The bus was so full it had to sail past four lots of open-mouthed would-be passengers on the side of the road, before reaching the shopping centre where the majority of passengers disgorged to catch a connecting train. I disembarked there.

I finished shopping just in time to miss a bus home. Instead of waiting for the next one, I decided to catch a taxi. I had bought a very fine specimen of cauliflower and, combined with the weight of potatoes, three tins of tomatoes, two varieties of pasta and more, I wasn’t sure I could maintain a good mood on the walk from the bus stop to my home (10 minutes further away than the 30 second distance of this morning).

The taxi driver put the meter on before he got out of his car to open the boot and stand there while I heaved my bags into it. Then when I said ‘The third street on the left’, he promptly took the first. He asked me if I wanted help getting my groceries out. I let him off the hook, for which he seemed extremely grateful—even managing a polite ‘thank you’ when I said ‘Just pop the boot; I’ll be fine’.

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