>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 109 – November 28, 2004

“Published Promptly at Exactly Approximately 7:04pm, or Thereabouts”

Now Playing: “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” by The Animals

Yes, I'm talking to you. The bus driver who was over twenty minutes late yesterday and, as a result, caused me both to miss an important dinner engagement, possibly with the Queen, and stand outside in the rain for half an hour. Let's be sure we understand each other: I don't like you, and I don't like needing you. We both know I only make use of your bus service because I'm too goddamn poor to own a car, and I realize that makes me a second-class citizen. That's why I totally understand you leaving me out in the rain, thus missing dinner possibly with the Queen. That's why I'm letting it go. Instead, I demand some major service changes that I expect you to implement immediately should you wish me to remain a loyal and disgruntled tax write-off of a customer. Here's what happened:

-First off, you are a bus, not a taxi. You got that, Mr. driver? That's right I didn't capitalize the nickname I gave you because it's not a proper noun. It doesn't matter if the person getting off the bus is a more attractive girl than I will ever be, even after costly surgical procedures. You still can't stop halfway between two stops to let her off just because she gave you Bambi eyes. Maybe if you stuck to the designated stops you wouldn't be so late all the damn time. So fuck you and the horse you rode in on. And by horse I mean bus.

“If your bus was really out of service you'd be in the municipal dump offering sexual favors at low low prices.”

-While we're on the subject of improving bus service, which is where we'll stay since that's the topic of this article, please stop showing off the bus's tilt and wheelchair ramps. Yes it's terrific that if some peculiar android-type, wheelchair-bound gimp, who would have died long ago if certain religious types weren't always running around DC lobbying against euthanasia, gets on the bus that you can tilt the bus down and extend a ramp to help him/her/it aboard. But there's no need to show off. Why do you use the wheelchair ramp every time some rickety old windbag tries to claw her way onto what is basically becoming a giant hearse, only slower? By my calculations it takes 15 seconds to lower the bus and fully extend the wheelchair ramp, and another 15 to bring the bus back to normal. That means you waste a full minute every two stops you fuck around with that device. In the time you waste over the course of just one bus ride, I could have thrown together like seven of these articles, and then maybe I wouldn't be writing them alone in my underwear on Saturday night.

-Please stop announcing all the stops as we drive by them. If I wanted to ride a tour bus I'd just kill myself because I bet there's a way better one in heaven. (“And if you look to your left you'll see God. Wave everybody! Hey, no flash photography!”)

-Do NOT, I repeat do NOT, upon arriving at a certain station, put the bus in park and just sit there idling for between 5 and 15 minutes. What are you, tech support? If I tried pulling that shit where I work I'd be fired faster than Eminem at a Bar Mitzvah. Who the hell just sits there while customers are waiting? (“Hey Witzman! Get back to work! I said 2 Quarter Pounders with Cheese. Hurry up.”)

-If you MUST sit there idling like a sociopathic lunatic who forgot his special medication in his mom's shoe, do not be offended when I, or a reasonable facsimile of myself walk up to ask you how long you plan to sit there and do nothing. Do not tell me to “go check the schedule” and then return to whatever it is you're doing, which at that moment appears to be communicating telepathically with beings from an alternate dimension. You're the bus driver. To me, you ARE the schedule.

-How come you break every traffic violation ever devised except speeding? You'd think as long as you're making an illegal u-turn through a red light you might try hurrying it up a little, but noooo…. If I ever recreate key scenes from the movie “Speed” I hope you'll understand why.

-How dare you refuse to admit me aboard because I was drinking a soda? Even people on their way to Auschwitz were given water on the trains. And quit bitching that it's going to make your bus messy. What about that handicapped android you let on a few stops back? I think he just crapped his pants. Like my Diet Sprite's gonna make a difference.

-You have got to come up with a cutoff for letting people on the bus once you've started moving. Sometimes you just drive away even though the person literally has their hand on the door, which I admit is pretty hilarious when it doesn't happen to me. Other times you start to move, then stop and open the door to let a straggler in, then start to move again, then stop to let in yet another latecomer, until it starts to seem like either walking or murdering you and hijacking the bus would be faster and more efficient. I recommend you adopt an approach that incorporates the best parts of both worlds: Slow down AS THOUGH you were going to let tardy people on the bus, and then drive away just as you get their hopes up. I think this would maximize entertainment value for me as well as get me to my destination lickety-split, which is a phrase you just don't hear often enough these days in my opinion.

-Do not put “Out of Service” in lieu of the bus number as you drive by my bus stop at speeds never attained whenever I'M on board while I stand outside in the rain waiting for the bus that, until I read the sign, I thought was you. If you're driving past me you're clearly serviceable enough to let me on. If you were really out of service you'd be in the municipal dump or parked in an alleyway somewhere offering sexual favors at low low prices, which is something I bet nobody ever expected a bus to do. I bet you could do things to an old broken-down vending machine that most sane people never even dream about.

-And finally, I'm tired of having to thank you at the end of every bus adventure. I bet you get tired of it too, don't you? I don't know how I'd feel if I had to hear hundreds of thank you's all day, every day. I'd probably get pretty pissed off. I might even try to exact revenge upon the thankers by idling for no apparent reason for 5 to 15 minutes. Oh, wait. I get it now.