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FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2019

BUS ETIQUETTE AND HUMAN NATURE

Hogan

2008-11-24 18:44:56

Opinions

Response to: Bus Etiquette by genius_advice
In response to the last article, "Bus Etiquette", by Genius_Advice, I'd like to add the following observations about bus passenger behavior.

On top of the inner-battle of conscience that takes place when someone potentially more "worthy" of your precious, comfy seat than you gets on the bus - deciding whether to offer the seat to them, and why - there arises, at least for me, and even more subtle set of complications. Mainly, that if you take too long in deciding to offer your seat, then you feel less and less inclined to finally offer it (and fell more and more stupid if you all of a sudden do), even if you think you really should. You're worried that the people around you (who also didn't offer their seat) will nevertheless think it strange and indecisive of you to abruptly make the offer, and they'll now know that you were thinking of it the whole time and couldn't make up you mind. So, for me at least, if I haven't offered my seat right away, I'll probably be overcome by the potential awkwardness and not offer the seat at all, until someone even more worthy makes an appearance, even though I sometimes invite and delight in public awkwardness. Not always, though. Many factors (how much I want the seat, how tired I am, how overcome by the paranoia of being stoned, etc.) are involved.

Alishah, in his comment on the "Bus Etiquette" article, is right to point out the feeling of superiority that comes out of giving up your seat. Others may feel ashamed that it wasn't them who "did the right thing", but everybody is relieved. And the pretty girl sitting across from you will be impressed by your gentlemanly courtesy. So giving up the seat is not wholly selfless, of course.

Two other, let's call them moral dilemmas, often occur on the bus. One is deciding who to sit next to if there are just a few seats left, and the other is how to deal with those colourful (and often smelly and loud) characters that the nice kind of busdrivers let on without having paid busfare.

In the first dilemma, you might have to choose between sitting next to a pretty girl who looks like she wants to be left alone, and usually for good reason (pretty girls have to put up with a lot of crap from strange men), and sitting next to some boring looking guy. You can be courteous and sit next to, for me, the member of your own sex, thus relieving the pretty girl of any unwanted pressure (even if it is just a (potentially annoying) male body beside her), or you can forget about gender and just take the seat you want more (seats facing back to front and usually preferable to side-facing seats: people often scramble to rearrange themselves, securing the best seats after a main-stop mass exodus of passengers).

The same goes for ethnicity. I've often observed people choosing to sit next to people not only of the same sex, but of the same race, or whoever is closest to it. Maybe it's a comfort thing. Familiarity. Or perhaps even fear. Whatever the motives (and of course they vary, or perhaps there is no motive besides just grabbing a seat), I see this a lot.

The second dilemma, which is a little more delicate to handle, is one we've all experienced. A loud, "dirty-looking", person gets on the bus. Sometimes they pay the fare, sometimes not. Sometimes they argue with the driver, other times they just walk right on and sit down. At this point the driver can either ignore them and drive off, or refuse to move. This can make for some tense moments.

But let's say one of these sometimes charming, other times arrogant characters sits near you and starts talking. Usually it's to nobody in particular. They just start talking. Or continue talking, seeing who will take the bate. Usually it's me. If I'm in public (and the bus is being in public, even with your iPod earphones in) I'll talk to anyone who talks to me, within reason. I'll ignore an asshole. This is most people's attitude towards over-social, colourful bus characters: they simply pretend they're not there. I find this just a little snobby, so, being the gregarious bus rider I am, I'll chat up these guys without hesitation. Not only because I think it's rude not to, but because other passengers are obviously less comfortable doing so, and I'd rather deflect the unwanted attention of the colourful character away from them and on to me (especially when it's a pretty girl who would rather ignore the strange fellow than humour him).

Again, my decision is an impure mixture of selfless- and selfishness. But this is how life goes. Nothing is pure, nothing untainted or unaffected by various personal and impersonal considerations. And certainly nothing is pure when riding the bus: that social experiment in microcosm, that revealer of human nature.
Comments

genius_advice

genius_advice

2008-11-24 18:50:47

BUT THE REAL QUESTION IS, DO YOU SIT NEXT TO THE PRETTY GIRL ON THE BUS TO SAVE HER FROM INTERACTING WITH STRANGE MEN, THUS BEING CHILVALROUS, OR ARE YOU A CREEPY STRANGER TOO?

Hogan

Hogan

2008-11-24 19:01:04

It's a fine line, yes.

And why isn't my article on the front page?

Alamir

Alamir

2008-11-24 21:37:04

Your article is on the front page. You may have missed it if someone's article who was submitted around the same time as yours had more Arcs and so bumped it lower.

As for the issue about whether to sit beside the pretty girl, the other thing to look out for is having to put up with some other alpha-male staring you down because he thinks you just chose the seat to sit beside the girl he's been making eye contact with.

However, ask yourself this: Do you want it to feel like a long bus ride or a short one?

If you prefer short bus rides: The solution I found, and it might not be for everyone, is that if you're feeling slightly alpha-male yourself then take the seat. She'll eventually have to sit beside someone and probably wasn't expecting Prince Charming anyway. On top of that you get to annoy any other alpha males on the bus for sitting where they'd rather be. When you're single, it's these little perks that make the bus rides feel a lot shorter.

Keshiaaa

Keshiaaa

2008-11-27 22:59:15

I like long bus rides, long, enjoyable bus rides.



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