Wednesday, 5 October 2011

If I had a hammer (write of passage number twenty-two)

He has one of those tool boxes you see workmen with nowadays: it's white and blue plastic, about three feet long and a foot deep -- looks rather like those cases hospitals use for transporting organs, if organs were three feet long and a foot deep. He's placed the tool box across the aisle and is standing behind it grasping railings on either side. He's wearing a dark tee shirt that says something about carpentry across the back. I have a good view of it because I'm standing behind him and I need to get off the bus.

Crowded bus etiquette is tricky. You don't want to ask someone to let you pass if they're getting off too, so I tap him on one broad shoulder and ask: "Are you getting off?" Unfortunately, he seems to think I'm angling for a seat that has just become available ahead of him. By the time we've established I'm trying to get out, the bus has taken off again.

"No," I say in despair. It has been a long day with too many crowded buses. "That was my stop."

"Well, you should have got ready two stop sooner," he tells me.

This is too much. "I got up in plenty of time," I protest.

He snaps.


Now, in several years of taking transit, many of those weighed down with any number and types of bags and containers, I have never yet made someone miss their stop by blocking the aisle. It seems impolitic to say so, seeing as he's still yelling at me. By this time, I've to slip down to the exit, and while he continues to bellow, give him my best "Oh, are you going to go on like this?" look before turning to find younger daughter, who in the crush of getting on had found a seat further forward.

"I'm sorry about this, Mom," she says in a little voice.
"It's okay, sweetie," I tell her. "It's not your fault."

Angry Carpenter has sat down in the seat he thought I wanted, so has a good view of this tender little scene. He leans forward.

"Ma'am, I apologise for losing my temper."

Like his previous outburst, this is completely out-of-left-field, and scores of responses flash in my brain. However, it's an apology and how many of those do you get these days, even in Canada?

"You have yourself a good evening." I say, with all the sincerity I can muster. Then younger daughter and I get off.


SOL's view said...

Oh. So. Rude!

I'm familiar with the whole crowded bus thing but so far *touches wood* I've not been blocked from my stop. Most of the passengers I travel with would have said 'Excuse me' then pushed past him.

Persephone said...

Not an option, SOL! His toolbox was right across the aisle at his feet and he himself was planted like a bridge, facing towards the front of the bus. Pushing wouldn't have worked.

SOL's view said...

Crazy man. They would have done though. I've seen the bus packed so densely you can barely move down the aisle and they still manage to push past. Of course, I am talking student here. Nothing gets in their way! :D