Taking the bus in Mississauga is like feeding a mass of starving chickens, while following a laser pointer just ahead of the running of the bulls.
I am very bad at math, but even I know that a line is not created by forming a hexagon around the circumference of a rectangle, or that ten people can fit through a 40-inch door at the same time. As I think this, (To be documented at a later date) I am being pushed, shoved, stepped over, stepped on, nudged and OY! Watch the hands there, ya pervert!
It matters not that I arrived before the three people that just crowed in front of me as if I were invisible as they tap away at their smart phones with thumbs that are moving so fast it creates a mild wind tunnel around the crowd. The only time they look up is to see if the bus is coming, not if someone is in front or behind, not if they are trampling a kid or smooshing a cat, just the bus and the phone- that is all that can fit in their tiny, insect like noggins.
Finally, the 109 express arrives, which is the one that only half of us are waiting for. In the distance, there is a flickering of orange and white, and suddenly the Time Warp begins…It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right. With your hand on your hips… and a stomp on the foot, with an elbow to the head, then they turned out the lights, as you’re lying there dead.
You manage to drift back to consciousness in the middle of the Barnyard Shuffle as everyone is scampering to the left, expecting the 107 bus to magically appear behind the 109. Suddenly the 109 pulls away and there is a massive scuttle to get back to the place they just were, five feet away.
Finally, the 107 bus arrives, and the oxygen is sucked out by the sudden vacuum crush of bodies trying to squeeze in through one tiny, bus door. As I am jostled, elbowed, squeezed and OI! Again with the hands! I finally make my way inside the bus, to see a bored, bleary eyed driver too disinterested to even meet the gaze of the cattle he is taking in. More jostling and inappropriate touching and I am stuck in the middle of a standing room only mid-town express.
Mmmmm…the smell of BO and armpit in the morning, nothing quite like it. My eyes are watering from a ‘man’s man’ who is too masculine to wear deodorant, and a woman who decided to bathe in a perfume that smells overwhelmingly like a funeral flowers mixed with cat piss.
A student carrying a backpack three times his width on his back keeps turning to talk to his buddy next to him. The backpack, that is obviously crammed with bricks, hits me twice in the head, before I squeeze a tiny hand through the microscopic space between me and everyone else and pinch the shit out of his side.
He yelps, looks down and I glare at him, while pointing to the back pack. He apologizes, and then there is an uncomfortable struggle as he tries to take it off while packed in with the rest of the sardines. Halfway through the route, we’ve shed a few pounds (people) and are actually able to sit down, and then, just as our resting rumps hit the seats, an idiot driver tries to cut off the bus and we are all thrown forward into our closest neighbor as the driver slams on the break. Much horn honking and fist waving ensues, then we are on the road again.
Finally we get to my stop and I pull the wire alerting a stop is signaled. We drive towards my stop, up to my stop, and then past my stop. ‘OY!’ From the depths of a wee person’s tonsils comes a warrior’s cry. “STOP!” The driver flinches, slows, pulls to the curb and I stomp off the bus (along with three other irritated people) and make my way back an extra block from where I needed to be. I turn down the street towards the building that houses my current employer, push through the doors and take the stairs rather than the elevator as I have the extra energy, up five flights and then key into the office.
Hang my coat up, drop my purse at my desk, reach for my lunch to put it in the fridge, and realize it’s still on the counter at home.