Sterling Ambivalence (sterlingnorth) wrote,
Sterling Ambivalence

People who shouldn't ride buses...

Again, I'm out and about with the laptop.

Second place I found with a free wireless access is at a little coffee shop in Arlington. I wonder if there is a list out there somewhere that identifies where in the Washington area where you can access the internet through WiFi. The only places I know of are the Panera Bread chain (for free) and the T-Mobile 'hotspots' within Starbucks and Border's bookstore ($6/hour). There are probably a number of free cafes in the area which I do not know about.

Anyway, I don't usually use this space to take down an anonymous person I run into during my day, but I feel an exception should be made in his case. He was on the bus I rode to get to this shop. He was a very large and very slovenly man, with bright orange crumbs on his shirt from the cracker he was eating on the bus. For those who don't know, it is illegal to eat on transit buses and trains in this town. This man was the reason why.

It was bad enough while he was eating his cracker. I had the misfortune to be sitting facing him on the  bus in the front seats, so I could do nothing but watch him eat. OK, crumbs are falling down on the floor, making a mess, and bits of cracker is falling out of his mouth as he was eating.

I can handle this, I thought. He is almost out of crackers. The mess is no more intolerable than what I generally see on the bus. Messy yes, but nothing to make a scene over. Unfortunately, this man was still hungry. It was time, he thought, for a sandwich of some sort of sliced meat.

As he began to stuff this food in his mouth, he began to make more and more of a mess. He was not successful in getting all his big sandwich into his mouth. Since he would not allow himself to take smaller bites, or to give us riders the common courtesy to refrain from eating while a full bus could only watch in dismay, big gobs of sandwich was falling on the floor. Bits of food that got stuck on his finger, he rubbed off behind his seat. The plastic wrapping that the sandwich came in was thrown on the isle floor -- the garbage in his mind, I presume. He took out a pastry of some sort, gobbled it down, while leaving large crumbs and the pie tin on the seat next to him, prevent passengers from sitting down next to him.

Gawddamn, Yuck!

About a mile after I got on the bus -- 5 minutes later or so, he pulled the chain to indicate his stop. I wanted him to clean up his nasty mess, the half sandwich that he left on the floor, the tomato and bread piece he wiped off his fingers behind the transverse seats. I wanted him to not be a slovenly ass. I should have said, "You nasty-ass slob, clean up after yourself!"  I wish I had said that! I really, really wanted to say that.

But he was bigger than me. Much bigger than me. He could have been 350 pounds easy. And I ... well, if he didn't have his ham sandwich, if he didn't have his day-glo crackers, if he didn't have his crumbly pastry, he could have easily chosen to eat me.

I wound up just saying, "Sir, you dropped something," while pointing to his uneaten sandwich. For whatever bizarre reason, I assumed, all evidence to the contrary man, that he wasn't an inconsiderate man. That he wasn't a messy ass who did not care about his surroundings or how people perceived him. Somehow, I let the insane idea get into my head that he would realize that he made a mess, and that it was his responsibility to clean up after himself.

Of course he blew the mess off, and got off the bus. Screw you, you passengers. Let the food rot behind the seats. Not my responsibility. I was hungry, and hell if I'm going to wait 25 minutes.

I know not what happened to the tomato slice behind the seat, I got off the bus 25 minutes after he did. The sandwich slice got off the bus via a woman's shoe 10 minutes after hungry slob did.
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