Thursday, 24 March 2011

Another One Rides The Bus

I was verbally and emotionally and physically assaulted on the bus, on the way to work, on Tuesday morning. This may not seem like the most hilarious way to begin a blog post, but bear with me. At the time it was pretty startling and I was kind of shaken up, but in retrospect I can't stop laughing about it, because it was so damn ridiculous. The story is as follows - the bus was crammed with the entire population of Edinburgh, or so it seemed, and I was wedged into a ridiculously small space at the front, next to where the disabled seats/newspaper holder part is. I am, as I have previously mentioned, rather weedy and short, so I don't take up much room normally, and in situations like this I tend to fold in on myself like a deckchair to avoid being battered around by the steady flow of people getting on and off the bus. I had my black headphones on, over a cream jacket so they were completey visible (no ninja headphones here, thankyouverymuch). Suddenly, out of nowhere (the bus was not even pulling to a stop yet) a short, red-haired woman dressed in a suit shoved me, very hard, in the ribs. I immediately pulled off my headphones and faced her, wondering what I'd done to arouse her anger.
Me: Excuse me?
Woman: I said excuse me THREE TIMES to you and you haven't moved.
Me: I'm sorry, I had my headphones on (pointing to them) and so I didn't hear you.
Instead of acknowledging this, the woman pushed roughly past me, almost sweeping me off my feet and crushing me into my small space even further. I have no idea how she imagined I was obstructing her, as I was like a limpet on the side of a rock at this point and could not have physically moved my body out of the way any more even if she'd paid me. I am a fairly laid back person, as you might have gathered from this blog, and I will quite happily help any stranger out if I can but this woman's attitude was appalling. She was in a suit so she must have been an office worker. She was in her late 40s so she really should have known better than to be this rude.
I realised that I had my jacket buttoned up and that she wouldn't have been able to see my handsome and carefully selected work shirt/jumper combination underneath, so she might have mistaken me for one of the many scruffy students that had boarded the bus around the same time. Nevertheless, I was annoyed. Being younger than someone else (or indeed, a student) does not make you inferior, nor does it take away your rights. You do not want to piss an Otternator off. I will cut you with my words. I am not afraid to rain wrath down on your head, wielding the Fish of Justice by the power of Greyskull.
Me: (muttering but purposefully loud enough so that she could hear me) Jesus.
Woman: (hissing) What did you say?
Me: (using my unafraid noble-Mufasa-face) I said Jesus.
Woman: (threateningly) HE'S NOT GOING TO SAVE YOU NOW!
This struck me as the stupidest comeback ever, and I couldn't stop the smirk showing on my face. I mean, did she really think I was praying for help? Did she think I expected Jesus to come hurtling out of the sky, resplendent in cape and tights with a J emblazoned on his chest? I'm an atheist, which made this whole situation even funnier, as I could quite easily have said "tool" or any number of other words which would have indicated that my opinion of this woman was plummeting with every second. This smirk was clearly a red rag to crazyass Suit Woman, who seemed to be spoiling for a fight. She looked like she was about to punch right through my face. I wasn't too bothered about that as the bus was packed full of witness, we were about two feet from the driver and all Lothian Buses have CCTV cameras everywhere. I didn't particularly want to be punched - I hadn't planned on it and it would have simply ruined my makeup - but I felt relatively safe. Besides, I grew up in West Lothian. We fight dirty.
Me: It's not a matter of faith, it's a matter of manners.
Woman: (aggressively) IS IT? IS IT REALLY?
Me:...Yes? You did push me.
She glared at me, the hatred burning in her eyes with all the power of a thousand suns, and then faced the doors again. They slid open. She exited. People around me gave me sympathetic smiles. I realised that this whole debacle had begun not because she wanted to get off the bus and I was in her way, but because she wanted to be in front of the doors when they opened, to ensure she was the first person off. That's freaking kerazy. Even I think so, and I have OCD for crying out loud. My very funny friend Jen (check out her blog 'Cheese And Crayons' here at suggested that if I ever see Suit Woman again, which is very likely given that we are on the same bus route, I should greet her cheerily, like an old friend, as that would probably be the single most annoying thing I could do in the circumstances. I will of course update you if anything further should occur. I almost hope that it does.

So, in summary, this post is dedicated with affection to the crazyass Suit Woman. You may have thought you were clever, pushing and yelling like a lunatic, creating a huge fuss first thing in the morning and having everyone stare at you. You may even have come away with the misapprehension that you somehow 'won' our conversation. Let me set you straight. I thought you were a dick. The driver thought you were a dick. In fact, everyone on that bus thought you were a dick. So well done. I'll start the slow clap. I hope you're proud of yourself.


  1. Well done! I know you didn't actually physically do anything, and I congratulate you on your restraint and grace, but you were completely in the right. When these things happen to me I retaliate, and then the person who caused the offense turns out to be cognitively disabled, and I look like the dick.
    Sorry you were pushed, but good on you for keeping your patch of moral high ground nice and pruned.

  2. I am weeping with laughter at the "not going to save you now" line. That's the kind of thing you file away in an inner notebook to jostle there, desperate to be put into the mouth of a book character.

    My latest entry in said book was a (perfectly innocently asked) question from my Mum when I was ranting about TV being dumbed down, and how 10 mins of decent stuff is stretched out over an hour... "I learn a lot from educational TV... does QVC count?"

    "No Mum, no it doesn't," I replied, then told her she'd be in my next book. And she looked happy. Bless her.

  3. Thanks Carole and Emma!
    Thinking back, I am surprised I wasn't more annoyed, but it all happened so fast I only really had time to be amused. I did in fact see Suit Woman again on the bus home a couple of days later, but I didn't realise it was her until I was about to get off the bus. Even then, it may not have been her. My facial recognition skills are shocking, as I'm sure you know :D

  4. Also, Emma, I think your mum should meet my mum. That would be the kind of meeting of the minds that only happens once a century!