Monday, July 19, 2010

"Seat Hogs"

Brooke Timmons grasped a bar in the middle of a crowded Red Line rail car and held on, looking exasperated as she tried to keep her balance while the train jerked and accelerated down the track.

On both sides of Timmons sat riders referred to on commuter Web sites as "seat hogs." A man and woman occupied aisle seats with empty spots beside them but made no move to slide over and offer Timmons a seat.

Reading this piece from the Washington Post, and I realize that "seat hogging" is apparently universal. I ride the Metro here in Los Angeles, and my pet peeve are those riders that refuse to sit in the back of the bus, but, stand in the doorway. There could be as many as eight empty seats, but three or four people will crowd the standing room in front of the exit door such that you have to shove people out of the way just to get off the bus! I don't find too many seat hoggers on the buses, but on the subways and trains, I do see them more, especially during crowded rush hour riding. I take the subway every other Friday after work to North Hollywood to pick up my grandson, and by the time the subway gets to my stop on its way to NoHo, I have to stand because there are generally no seats. The trip itself is not long, approximately 20 minutes, so I don't get too bothered. But it bothers me for other people, the mommies with their babies and strollers, the elderly (ok, so I am considered on the elderly side LOL), and others, that (1) men don't relinquish their seats for the women and (2) the younger kids take up two seats with their bags and stuff.

Since I ride regularly, there are a few "riders" on my bus to work that generally sit in the aisle seat and refuse to let anyone get "inside" to sit. I've seen one elderly black lady go bonkers on a guy that tried to sit there. The poor man actually started arguing with the woman, and she was like "oh no you ain't gonna sit next to me." He finally moved on, and a bit later, the old woman let some younger woman sit in the seat

Then we have the crazy woman who jumps up and down in her seat, hitting her back with an empty water bottle, and shouting profanity, in between moments of sanity where she might say something to someone near her like she said to me one day ... "hey, I like you pants, where did you buy them?" Every now and then, a bus driver will tell her she has to calm down or he'll have to ask her to get off the bus, and she is like, "ok, sorry," and sits quiet for a moment, but then starts jumping up and down in her seat, and hitting herself again. I've seen this woman on my bus for probably the past three years. She's obviously homeless because she pulls up onto the bus her homemade carry all, which can, at times, block the aisle. I don't begrudge the homeless from taking the bus or train, and carrying their "home" with them ... it's the only form of transportation actually available. It's not like they have a car. Hell, I don't have a car!

There are all kinds of interesting and/or weird people who ride the bus, though. Yeah, there are the regular commuters using the system to get to and from work, many of whom have cars but use the bus to save on gas and parking fees. I ride it because I live centrally to just about any route N/S/E/W that, aside from the occasional longer than usual wait, I can hop a bus or a train or a subway and be at a destination without much hassle and almost equally as fast as if I was driving in a car. But the weird ones go from cracking me up to down right scary.

I've been on the metro a handful of times when fights have broken out and weapons drawn, and everyone runs to the front of the bus to get off (why is it always at the back of the bus that this shit happens anyway?). Then there was the time this guy got on, sat in the back (I have a habit of sitting in the last row, and next to the window if I can), and boy he stunk to high heaven of SHIT. Not just smelly like some of the homeless men and women smell, but of pure doo doo in his pants. One by one, we all moved to the front of the bus, and then again, one by one, we all started yelling at the man to get off the fucking bus and at least go to a gas station and hose off his damn feces. Finally, the bus driver made him get off the bus. We were all spraying our perfumes and other "smelling" devices on the bus just to get rid of the "poop aroma." The driver finally said he was taking his bus in and exchanging it for a new one for that day!

One time, this young black kid gets on the bus, and he goes for the back row. This time, I am not sitting in the back, but two rows from the back door, and a young Hispanic lady is sitting next to me (a student, not high school, older), and in front of me in the two seats, one is occupied by a young Hispanic man with a green "Subway" sandwich store shirt on, and the seat next to him empty. Then this black dude gets up from his seat in the back and sits down next to the guy in front of me, and spreads his legs out in an expansive position such that, of course, he touches the guy next to him. I hate it when guys sit down and do that. Anyway, he starts calling the guy next to him (in the Subway shirt) a "fag," "homo" and other derogatory terms, and acts all like the guy tried to touch him. The woman next to me was like, chill dude, and the bus driver I can see is looking through his mirror to see if there is a problem. The black guy moves again to another seat, this time across the aisle from me. He continues with his shouting obscenities and then starts in on the woman next to me. By this time, I start to chime in with some profanities of my own telling him to shut the fuck up. Then he starts in on me with his "I'm packing and I'm gonna fuck you up old lady." I swear, I stood up, stared straight at him, did the hands on the chest pump and said "bring it on, fucking asshole, bring it ... show me your big ass gun dipshit." That's when the bus driver starts shouting, "do we have a problem back there" to which I am shouting back "yes" and pointing to the dude, and the dude is yelling back at the driver "no, we don't have a problem" all the while continuing to yell at me at how he's such a big gangster and he's going to fuck me up, to which I am replying ooooh, I'm scared of the punk on the bus, take me on, you little shit. This lasted for about three stops then the kid gets off the bus (unfortunately so does the Hispanic girl that was next to me, and so he continued to mouth off at her as we pulled away). The guy in front of me turned around and thanked me, saying he was too afraid to say anything! I started laughing, telling him I'm way too old to have to take the punk's shit, and that I'm generally not afraid of guys like that on the bus. If a guy is really packing a weapon, he doesn't shout it out loud for all to hear. Usually, guys like that couldn't connect on a punch, and I've had my share of fights that I know where to connect, be it with my fist, my foot, or a simple head butt! I may be little but I swing a mean right!

But, most of the time, the riding on the Metro is uneventful, even fun, like the time I was with Zaire who had just played that machine that you put money in and then try to grab something with the tongs. Mostly you loose your money cuz it never picks anything up. But Zaire actually got this bear with a UCLA shirt on it. Now, I'm a USC fan, so I was all ugh, get that bear away from me. So, we get on the bus, and go to the back, and there was an unusual number of elderly men all in the back going to the Veterans Hospital for something. They see Zaire and his UCLA bear, and then starts the smack talking back and forth between the USC and the UCLA fans! It was fun, especially for Zaire, to be interacting like that. The guys were cool and we had the whole half of the bus picking sides! Now, that's something that one would not experience driving alone in your car from point A to point B!

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