A Hastily Written Friday Rant . . .

I’m currently working on two different posts right now, and I’m nowhere near done with either of them and don’t want to rush them.  So, to ensure I have a post for today, I’m going to give you a rant on a pet peeve that didn’t make my top five on Wednesday.

There is a certain act of bus courtesy that I think all bus riders would do well to remain conscious of.   I’m talking about moving to an empty seat when it opens up so you’re not crowding the person you’re next to.  To be more specific, I’m talking about any 2-person seat on the bus that the two of you have to share due to a crowded bus.  If you’re both still next to each other when the bus clears up a bit (as it’s nearing the end of its route), and you’re the one on the outside, you should move to an open 2-seater.  I’m going to be nice and not demand that you move to an inward facing seat–only move when a forward facing seat opens up.  That’s fair, right?

I’ve been shocked the number of times this rule has gone unheeded, though.  Like the girl on the 358 who sat next to me through four stops on Aurora Avenue when we were the only two people on the back half of the bus.  I did the classic “do something with my left hand” move to show off my wedding ring, just in case she was still there for a reason other than bad manners.  Don’t scoff–she sounded rather sad when my stop approached and I moved to get up and she asked, “Is this your stop?”  Sorry to break your heart, lady, butIgotmeaDona.

A couple of days ago, a seemingly intelligent, business-type guy sat next to me as we all crowded on the 41 at the Northgate Park & Ride.  The bus started significantly clearing off after two stops, but he stayed put all the way to the International District, where we both got off.  Look man, your inattention has made this escalator ride a lot more awkward, I hope you know.

You know what?  I’ll give even more leeway–if you’ve got headphones in or your face buried in a book or magazine, I’ll cut you some slack.  I caught myself doing this one day when I was deeply into a game of Angry Birds.  Understand this doesn’t make it OKAY, but there’s at least an argument to be made that you would have moved had you noticed no one was left on the bus.

And don’t try to use the excuse, “Oh, I was afraid you might have taken offense to me moving.”  Let me clarify this–only the person MOVING is uncomfortable because of the seat-switch.  The person staying put is just fine with it.

One more thing: this works in reverse, too.  If there are open 2-seaters, you take the open 2-seater.  Again, I won’t insist on taking an inward-facing seat–that’s your choice–but if there is no one in the seat two rows back, take that.  I was the first person on a bus a couple of weeks ago and took the first forward-facing seat there was (because if you get off at Northgate on the 41, standing in the back is like deboarding an airplane), and two other people got on.  An older woman sat two rows back from me, and this early-20’s looking dude plopped down right next to me.  It was two more VERY busy stops before such a move could be justified.

Okay, I have a meeting in six minutes . . . so in conclusion–We sit arm-to-arm on the bus only when we HAVE to, and we spread out when we get the chance.  Other countries may not have such a wide bubble of personal space as we do in America, but we’re not in those countries.  So pay attention.


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