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People say life is the thing, but I prefer reading*

Abnormally Funny People

I got on the bus today, a bit weary and headachey after a busy day, and realised with dismay that I'd sat down in the middle of a telephone exchange. The posh girl in the seat next to me, the drunk girl behind me, and the woman in the seat across the way who was clearly still working, were all talking on their mobiles. Loudly. I attempted to read my book (The Three Musketeers, if anyone's interested - it's great!), but after half a page I realised it was pointless trying to read with the din they were making, and just as entertaining to listen to the three conversations going on around me:

Posh Girl: 'So Bunny's moving in with Avril, and Tibbs told me that Miranda is going to be HOMELESS after term finishes because she can't find a flatmate and her parents can't even afford to buy her a flat' Oh, shut up.

Drunk Girl: 'I've just necked five pints but I'm cone-stold sober' Riiight.

Working Girl: 'I think you and I need to get together to hash this out, because the project timescale is slipping and we need to refocus' Isn't this what offices are for? The whole bus doesn't need to hear abour your slippage. Also, your perfume is rank.

Then a young mother of about 18 got on the (already packed) bus with her buggy. Now, Lothian Buses have a space for one buggy/pram/wheelchair, and a sign saying that other passengers must vacate the space for people that need it. There was someone sitting in the space, so this girl approached him and asked him if he would mind moving to another seat, so that she could get on with her buggy.

There's nothing noteworthy about that really, and you're probably thinking 'what a polite young woman', except that the man in the disabled space was blind.

He had a guide dog. He gets on the bus regularly, and always sits in the same seat, and even without his cute canine assistant, it's immediately clear that he's blind. He obviously didn't want to move, because he took ages answering the girl (I suspect he was trying to think of a more polite way to get rid of her than telling her to piss off, which I was hoping he would do). She asked if he'd prefer to stay where he was (well, durr!), and he said that actually, yes it would be easier for him. She then made a big show of saying 'well, ok, I'll just get off then', and starting to turn her pram round. So of course the poor man had no choice but to say that he would move.

Another passenger then had to help him move to another seat (with the whole bus watching by now of course), where he and his dog looked very uncomfortable and squished. The girl made herself comfy in his seat, eyeballed all the people that were staring at her incredulously, and didn't bat an eyelid.

I was horrified. So was Posh Girl next to me, as she gave a running commentary of what was going on to Bunny ('Oh my god, some awful girl is forcing a blind man out of his seat on the bus').

Of course people with buggies and prams should be able to use public transport, and it's good that it's made as easy as possible for them, but surely disabled people should take priority over able bodied people, even those with children?

Shouldn't they?

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At 18.5.07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the answer is yes.

the thing is, i would have told the woman where to get off. literally. i would have said, in my very sweestest southern belle chocolate dripping from every word voice tell her that unfortunately, that seat is taken by someone else, but you're sure everyone on board would make room for you elsewhere. then i'd smile and blink sweetly. and if she didn't get the hint, then i'd bring out the brooklyn ghetto (i've heard it on tv) and tell her to get off the bus and walk her ass the half a block to her baby's daddy's house.

then again, i'm not the type of person to ask someone to move from a seat unless, of course, they're deliberately taking up more than their fair share of room.    

At 18.5.07, Blogger Drama Queen said...

What about when you take a bus through Morningside, then NONE of the residents will vacate their snotty seat. . .pregnant women, blind people - whatever! They pretend they simply didn't notice. . .    

At 18.5.07, Blogger pink jellybaby said...

oh oh yes!! definately!
this story does make me a little bit sad really :(    

At 18.5.07, Blogger Teeny said...

Pink - I wish you'd been there then! I was praying for someone to confront her. I was sitting near the back of the bus and was kind of trapped otherwise I might've.

Queenie - It's so rude but you see it all the time. I always offer my seat if I can. I was trapped by the window yesterday though.    

At 18.5.07, Blogger Teeny said...

Jellybaby - Me too, I was really shocked. I felt so sorry for the blind man. He was so nice about it as well!    

At 18.5.07, Blogger Timbo said...

I think you should all have ganged together and forced her out of her seat by pretending that you all wanted to sit there. Piss her right off.

Honestlt, I really hate the general population sometimes. Apart from you and the blind guy. You sound alright.    

At 18.5.07, Blogger Cat said...

Of course they should. But I think mothers with prams are often amongst the rudest.

I recall a really horrid incident last summer when I was trying on sandals in M&S when a woman with a buggy asked me (not very politely) to move. I said of course, but as I was hopping around and had my kit lying around me, I wasn't very fast. Rather than wait, she rammed her buggy right in my achilles tendon and said "Sorry, I'm in a hurry!". It's a good job I was too stunned (and sore) to talk.

Perhaps it's the new baby hormones or something?    

At 22.5.07, Anonymous Em said...

I was on a bus in Oxford a few months ago and a woman got on with a buggy. The bus wasn't at all busy and there was room for them, and she sat down. BUT another woman with pram and 2 children was already in the pram space, and SHE went to the driver to tell him there wasn't room for the second woman. And so the driver made the second woman get off. I couldn't believe it.    

At 23.5.07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would imagine it was less to do with her being a mum and more to do with her being 18! Not exactly at your most selfless at that age, are you?

Still, I agree completely. Poor blind man and dog should be first priority.

Conversely I was on a bus the other day and a man in a wheelchair wanted to get on. There was a young mum sitting in that place, who very quickly offered to pack up the buggy and move, however wheelchair man said no, he was happy to wait for the next bus. All very civilised. And this was in Gorgie!    

At 26.5.07, Anonymous Lynx said...

Is it any wonder that people prefer to use their car than public transport? At least that way you are insulated from the general oiks, although it does cost an absolute fortune!    

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*Logan Pearsall Smith

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