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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Time spent in Purgatory- also known as- My daily commute on The Bus of the Damned

Yes, that is a dramatic title, but lately, my public transportation experiences are beginning to feel like Purgatory. I have been writing imaginary prayers in order to stop myself from snapping at people, or actually becoming one of those stories you read about while riding on public transportation.
Because I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, so to speak, I FOUND an amazingly accurate website which has done far more work than I plan to invest in this topic. I HIGHLY recommend you view it in order to capture some of the look and feel of what I have been encountering lately. I would rather ride with these guys.

The website is called- Transit Freaks.  Before you think I am being harsh or cynical, please don’t judge me unless you have been forced to be SQUEEZED into a metal tube and pressed up against someone you don’t know, as if they were your most intimate partner or your spouse.  That’s called the METRO. The "wonderful" joy of riding Metro, and that is a whole blog by itself, is like the most dysfunctional person in your family. You can’t live with them, but if you work in D.C. and don’t want to pay a mortgage-like parking fee every month, you can’t live without them.
Metro is a great idea with LOUSY execution. It is a hot mess. Sometimes literally. Mercifully, I only have to travel 3 stops to my office. Believe me when I tell you, those 3 stops can seem like an eternity if you are sitting next to the wrong person OR if you are crushed in the aforementioned situation.

Sadly, many commuters don’t have basic hygiene as one of their strong suites. Having Halitosis Harry breathe on you for three stops can make 15 minutes seem like 15 hours. Summer is so much worse than winter because you may actually have skin to skin contact when the weather is warm. Ugh. Hence the prayers.
Example:  Our Lady of Perpetually Smelly Travelers, please help me to hold my breath without dying until I reach Gallery Place. Amen

You see where I am going with this. Here is an example of the expression I have when I experience the damnation each day

The Bus of the Damned is another story. I have compiled a short list of SINS that my fellow damned commit on our lovely bus and ask sincerely that you look introspectively and ponder whether you are guilty of any of them:

1. Thou shall not talk on the cell phone so loudly that others are forced to listen to your personal business.

2. Thou shall make sure that you are not listening to your music so loudly in your headphones that your fellow travelers know every song on your ipod.

3. Thou shall remember not to wear cheap, stinky, aftershave or perfume. Your fellow travelers do not want to vomit on other passengers.

4. Thou shall remember to bathe and brush teeth in the event that you will be close enough, AND YOU WILL, to other travelers to breathe on them.

5. Thou shall not fall asleep on another traveler. No one wants to be your body pillow.

6. Thou shall not assume that everyone on the bus is deaf. WE CAN HEAR YOU and when you talk very loudly to another passenger or into your phone, it is annoying and rude. BE AWARE of your surroundings.

7. Thou shall not shake your wet hair, umbrella, coat or belongings on a fellow traveler. Again, BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. We are all on this Bus of the Damned together. Do we have to make it any worse than it is?

8. Thou shall not take up two seats. Don’t take up valuable real estate by spreading out all your books, bags, or even yourself, so that you are denying someone else a seat. BE CONSIDERATE. The world does NOT revolve around YOU!

9. Thou shall be thoughtful, courteous, and polite. We all have to be on this Bus of the Damned together. Let’s try to make it as civilized as possible.

10. Thou shall not assume that anyone on the Bus of the Damned cares to hear about your politics, religious affiliation, sports team, or your rants about metro. IT IS A BUS, not a roundtable discussion. Zip it until you get to your office.

In closing, I want to say that I do encounter wonderful, kind, friendly, and normal people on public transportation too. Unfortunately, they are in the minority. I realize that public transportation is a very valuable part of urban living and I support it.
It is my sincerest wish that people could learn to be more aware of how their actions and behavior impact the people around them. If that happened, perhaps there could be salvation for those riders on the Bus of the Damned and the daily commute could be so much more enjoyable.
If you know anyone who is guilty of these commuter sins, pass it along. Maybe it is the hint they need to get on the righteous path.


  1. You are too funny! Spot on, in most cases, but darn funny while you are at it!

  2. Reading about your daily experiences on "The Bus of the Dammed", made me realize how fortunate I was the forty one years that I drove myself to work. True that I didn't have any alternative. Due to my location it was faster and cheaper for me to drive, than to use public transportation.
    It is sad that in this, our wonderful country, so many of her citizens have to endure this predicament daily. If our Government offers free
    elemental education, why not subsidize public transportation? Other rich countries do it. Of course, I am dreaming. Maybe with a different Congress (only "coffee" drinkers allowed)and a Commander in Chief with balls,someday, somehow, a miracle could take place. Amen!