Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Waiting for the bus

I left work late this evening. My Little Dog is staying with the Artist for a while so that I can dig myself out from under a mountain of work without adding in the guilt of not spending enough 'quality time' playing with her. It also gives me a bit of time back, especially in the evenings.

So, because I didn't have to be home to walk the Little Dog, I stayed at work until about 7, getting some bits and pieces finished. I made my way down to the main campus bus stop and saw a long queue of people waiting. And it got longer and longer. I say a queue, but actually there is no sensible queueing position there. Stairs lead from the centre of campus at both ends of the long bus stop. No one knows which end is the right end to queue. It was more a gaggle of people really. A rapidly expanding gaggle.

And there were people who had clearly been waiting some time. Everyone looked up the road when we heard a vehicle, and there were some disappointed sighs when one turned out to be a coach dropping someone off on campus rather than a bus to take us all away. As the gaggle got bigger, I could see people watching each other suspiciously: "are they going to jump in front of me to get on the bus first? will one single decker bus be able to hold all of us? (probably not). Will we all fit on a double decker bus? (well if we're lucky). I was in this queue first, and no one is getting to the bus doors before me. Especially the pushy person, who has repositioned themselves in this gathering 3 times, so as to get closer to the usual door opening point...".

When the bus arrived, the gaggle pushed together towards the door. So much determination to get on first meant that those wanting to get off were fighting their way through. A young man near me carrying a long case (musical instrument? snooker cue?) positioned the case to make sure no one could get next to or past him as he made his way to the front of the queue.

Waiting for buses makes people very selfish.

He got on and said "single to town". "Please", I added for him in my head. (Apparently bus queues make people very rude, as well). Eventually, I got on and found a seat towards the back of the bus. The double decker bus filled, and before we left there were people standing in the aisle. A few stops on from campus, an old and clearly frail lady got on the bus. She stood holding on as the bus set off. I was pleasantly surprised when a young lady sitting in one of the fold-down seats at the front offered her seat. At first Frail Lady refused saying she was only going a few stops, but the young lady was clearly uncomfortable sitting whilst Frail Lady stood, so she stood up and offered again. Frail Lady sat down. A few more stops and Frail Lady got off; the young woman took her seat again, but only briefly as she almost immediately offered it to another older (but not old) lady with shopping who got on. Shopping lady, however, found a seat much further back, and she sat down again. At the next stop a young man with learning difficulties got on, and again the young woman offered her seat. He didn't take it. But at every stop the young woman watched who got on, and offered her seat to another older or frailer than herself.

So I revise: Waiting for the bus makes some people very selfish.

1 comment:

The Shrink of Virtue said...

This just convinces me that owning a car is a Good Thing. How absolutely hellish.