I could write the damn book.
Because of what and where I study, I am obliged to take the bus to the university campus every day –well, also because I didn’t bother to get my license and now I’m a virgin who can’t drive (see that Clueless reference?).
Anyway, I take the bus twice a day, one for going and another one for returning home. And, oh my, you wouldn’t believe the stories I could tell.
Most of the time, I just ride with blank eyes and stare into the universe with no special attention, but other times I’m a human sponge. I can perceive if the woman at the seat in front of me didn’t shower today, or if the man three rows ahead forgot to shave a tiny spot of his cheek. Also, I can immediately say if someone is used to taking the bus or not –the scared expression and meticulous bar-grabbing is the key.
The like I ride is one of the longest available in my city and, well, I usually call it the “touristic route” because basically it goes around the principal spots in town. Also, it stops at every University campus so you can see bohemian girls dressed in colours from the Art Degree, busy-looking boys with glasses from the Economy/Business Degree, reeeeally posh-looking girls with tons of make-up who usually are from the Law University and those who seem to really not care about what others may think and read complicated books from the Philosophy campus. It’s easy, you see? You just need a bit of imagination and experience to recognize all the types of students.
Then, you have the creepy old men who sit way too close to you and subtly caress your leg when you least expect it. Those are bad. Just run or stare angrily at them. Usually they will back off and change seats. If they don’t, you change the seat. Unless you like it… hey, I’m not going to judge anyone.
But not old people are creepy. There are the “neglected olds”, as I call them. They don’t seem to have anything to do now, so they spend their day riding the bus and going from one place to another with their gold pass and when they see you staring, they simply start talking to you. They might tell you the most awesome story ever or they might just bore you, but they will not stop until you have to get off the bus. Maybe they won’t even stop then. See? These are nice… most of the time. Unless you’re a bit tired at 9pm and you’re not in the mood to listen to anyone except for the sweet voice singing through your headphones.
Once, the bus had to stop in the middle of one of the busiest streets of the city and three policemen got on. Everyone started to get nervous. What had happened? Did someone get robbed?
I was sitting at the back of the bus, next to a weird looking guy (but you get used to it and you just sit wherever there’s an empty seat). Everyone stared at him. I stared at him. The police stared at him. And he stared out of the window.
“You. Come here”, said one of the policemen to the weird looking guy. “Why, me?” answered the guy. And before he could stand up to confirm our suspicions that he was, in fact, a thief, one of the two other policemen grabbed a guy with a backpack who was trying to go unnoticed in a group of old ladies and HE turned out to be the pickpocket. Guess we can’t always blame those weird-looking guys after all, right?
I could tell you more stories.
Maybe I will… until then, I’ll be observing and learning some more.