Anyone who’s subjected themselves to the personal space eradication service that is public transport knows there are some downsides to it. The downsides are the public, who use the transport.
1. The noises
Putting something in a new context can give you a totally different perspective on it.
On a bus, I suddenly find that the worst thing in the world is the human mouth; it’s a damp, grotesque, and noisy face-void with no place in civilised society. I had to suffer through one journey during which a child decided to use his cake-hole to spew endless, hyper-sonic screeches. His nerve-shredding wails sounded like a dubstep remix of nails scraping down a black board mashed up with a recording of a cat being clubbed with a violin.
The screaming however, is nothing compared to the more insidious, stomach turning sound of PDA.
One grey morning I was subjected to the sight of two morons in love and their ensuing, clumsy passions. Their faces squelched together and sloppily undulated, it looked like a grotesque, fleshy lava lamp. It was impossible to ignore, I stared hard out the window but I could still hear a clammy, ‘Clop… Clop… Clop…’ These clinches ended with a noise that sounded like wet velcro slowly being drawn apart. They went at each other, again and again, for the entire journey.
2. The smells
A bus is, in essence, a closed environment that will let any unwashed ape proffering a fare in its manky paw on. It’s only reasonable to expect a certain level of ‘musk’. But, sometimes, it goes too far…
I’ve found that any late night sojourns I take are accompanied by the stench of stale cider and lost hope, as dazed looking revellers shamble aboard. Every single one of these boozed up gits seem to have an uncanny ability to hone in on the empty seat beside me and envelop me in their ethanol-and-fag-smoke tinged microclimate.
The true unforgivables are always sober. One drizzly morning I found myself traveling with some kind of sociopath. He apparently thought it was perfectly acceptable to crack open a tin of tuna and tuck in! The entire cabin filled with a bitter, briney stench that stuck to the back of my throat.
The smell wafted through the air for the entire trip, and I left that bus smelling like a Norwegian fishing village.
3. The earphones
The daily transit can be boring and often people pass the time by listening to music.
That’s fine, but earphones are prone to a certain level of ‘overflow’. It’s rare when I’m able to sit near someone listening to their Ipod without being able to hear exactly what banal, tinny dross they’re inflicting on themselves. Believe me, you haven’t suffered through Nathan Carter until you’ve heard the hissing, metallic ghost remix seeping from some gormless rube’s cheap earbuds.
There has to be a deep, particularly unpleasant circle of hell reserved for the degenerate goons who somehow feel it’s acceptable to play music from their cheap phone’s built-in speakers. No matter what song, no matter what volume, the tiny sweatshop made speaker will instantly convert it into a shrieking crackle that could easily be mistaken for the noise a Dalek makes when it reaches orgasim.
4. The temperature
I remember seeing an awful action film, ‘Fortress 2: Re-entry’. It was set aboard a space prison where solitary confinement was in a tiny cell that resembled a glass blister on the station’s hull. As the stationed spun in orbit the cell would intermittently go from a broiling sweat box, baked in the sun’s unfiltered glare, to a freezing crypt with all warmth bleeding out into the void of space.
It’s a pretty good metaphor for the two temperatures that the cabin of a bus can be.
5. The eye contact
I can’t blame anyone else for this one, it’s all me.
Sometimes I zone out, I get lost in a daydream, oblivious to all that’s happening around me.
I gaze off into nothing, miles away from everything happening around me.
Then, gradually, I come back to my senses… And I realise that I’ve been staring fixedly at an uncomfortable looking commuter for an awkwardly long time.
I blink and try to act like I was looking past them and out the window, but it’s too late.
They probably think I’m some kind of bus faring serial killer.
So, dear reader, what are your bus-borne bugbears?