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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Day I was called “The Devil” on a Metro bus: More stories from “The Bus of the Damned”

I have been in a creativity slump recently, mostly due to frustration, exhaustion, and an increasing apathy that has sucked the life out of me. (I will go into the reasons for this recent situation more at a later date.) But today, the universe threw me a bone, or I should say, my infamous “Bus of the Damned” did.
As I have noted in previous posts, my daily commute can be quite “challenging”, which is a polite way of saying, hellish. And speaking of hellish, that is the perfect segue into the main gist of this post. On my commute home this evening, some woman had the enormous audacity to call me, “The Devil”. REALLY? What the hell! And I wasn’t even wearing Prada!

Just so we are perfectly clear, here is how the situation transpired. I boarded the bus, just as I always do, and it is my custom to sit near the front because when I sit in the back I can smell the fumes and it always gives me a headache. Also, on many older buses, the motor is very loud in the back. So I sit in one of the seats in the front which look like this-
Now the buses in the front have these rails to hold on to and they block part of the seat, so a person sitting in that seat doesn’t have as much room. It is more like a half seat than a full seat. Often, if the bus is not crowded, I will sit next to that seat.
On this particular ride, there were plenty of seats. I was sitting in my usual spot and up comes this woman of large proportions, and she stands RIGHT in front of me and expects me to squeeze over into the half seat so she can squeeze in. I just look at her and she says, “Can I sit there?” KNOWING FULL WELL that she isn’t going to fit into that half seat without crushing me, I choose to rise and go across the aisle
and sit in another full seat. No big whoop. BUT THEN I HEAR IT. It was faint, but unequivocal.
“You’re the devil”, she says.  I look up, with utter confusion, and say, “Pardon me.”  She repeats it,“I said, You’re the devil.”
I am instantly angry, confused, insulted, but partly amused because it is so absurd. I can think of a dozen REALLY MEAN, nasty, crude, rude, insults to bestow upon her, but I choose to take the high road and say, “Whatever, Dude.” She got the message.

So, that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. I have a BUS full of eye-witnesses, many of whom chimed in once she departed the bus to assure me that they didn’t believe for one moment that I was the Prince, or I guess in this case the Princess, of Darkness at all.
Poor little me! What was my heinous act? That I gave up my seat? That I made a face because I didn’t feel like being crushed like a sardine in a can when there was a perfectly fine EMPTY seat inches away from both of us. Was she upset because she felt that I had somehow slighted her? WTF?? I don’t know. All I do know is that calling a person a devil or THE DEVIL should, by all standards and accounts, be saved form something a BIT more serious.

I am sure Beelzebub is quite miffed that a middle-aged woman, traveling home from her thankless job, in the midst of stunned suburbanites traveling to their little homes, on the “Bus of the Damned”, was given such an infamous title, AND FOR WHAT?
So, in my mind, I was thinking all the way home- WHAT IF I actually WERE this Devil she accused me of being? What would I do to her? That was a deliciously evil 20 minutes of thought going through my mind. I am absolutely certain she would have had a different response. As I told my fellow passengers on our motorized purgatorium, I would have evaporated her in a puff of smoke. I’ll bet that would have fixed her little red wagon.

Public transportation really is like purgatory. You have to endure the worst in people. Their cranky moods, their frustration, their lack of manners and situational awareness for what is going on around them. The incessant, loud talkers who don’t know or care how much their voice carry when talking to another rider or on their cell phone. The people who spread out like they are perched on their living room couch. The people who play their music so loudly through their headphones that you can hear all the words to the song they are listening to.
The list goes on and on and on and on. It is enough to drive a person crazy, and maybe that is the problem. Some people aren’t able to manage their stress and they snap at the slightest hint of insult. Maybe I have a devilish look about me. Perhaps I am too transparent, or maybe I am just too nice. It is probably a combination of all those things.  Whatever it was, it made a great story, didn’t it?

Could it be God, the universe, or the Dark Lord himself is trying to tell me something?Maybe this ongoing saga on public transportation will become a book one day. I have always dreamed of writing a book, but I never imagined that it would be about a topic so banal. Alas, sometimes we don’t choose the topic, the topic chooses us.
Stay tuned for more stories from… cue the eerie music… “THE BUS OF THE DAMNED”.

PLEASE FEEL FREE to share YOUR favorite commuter hell story in the comments section.


  1. hahahaha...sorry, I know I shouldn't laugh but that was so funny. you were so awesome in your response. i would have probably given into my "demonic" nature and let her have it. ohmyGod, i have a million come backs. no wonder you had a great 20 minutes imagining all the things you could have said. lol. you rock Diana!

  2. Thanks, Jose. It took sheer willpower to stifle the comments I wanted to say! Life is just an endless series of absurd and irritating events. I try to keep it light, when I can. I appreciate your comments. Thanks for the kind remarks.

  3. Aw, sorry your misery is so danged entertaining. :) The Bus of the Damned, too funny!

    The most bizarro public transportation story that I have is riding the MARTA rapid light rail train from the northern Atlanta suburbs to the south-of-the-city airport, about a 55 minute train ride.

    One time there were two grown women in the same car, both sound asleep and both sucking their thumbs the entire ride. They were not sitting together, didn't know each other, just two thumb-suckers that happened to be in the same train car.

    Other than that time, I do not think that I have seen an adult thumb-sucker. :)