How do you bus?

By Gary Lim

Everything you’ve ever needed to know about someone can be learned from how they sit on the bus.  A great man said this once.  It was me, and though I may not have any fancy credentials in the field of psychology or even be completely sober right now, I have the utmost confidence in the my statement.

Let’s begin.

Before we even get inside the bus, we can learn volumes of our would-be rider based on their preferred entrance onto the vehicle.

If you board via . . .

Front door:  You’re the go-getter type, and like Rosa Parks, you refuse to move to the back of the bus no matter what the shrill electronic fem-bot shouts at you. You are exactly the self-empowered dynamo who doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Hell you probably wouldn’t even take “No. I’ve phoned the police. Seriously, they are on the way” for an answer.  Type A-personality.

Middle door: What’s behind door number two? There’s no shame in second place. In fact while those front door snobs are left standing when wheeled-chairs and snot-faced babies in strollers come aboard, you’re comfy and cozy in the middle rows — or maybe you’re eyeing one of those single bachelor seats in the part of the bus that looks like the inside of a giant accordion.  Sensibility defines you.

Back door: Back dat ass up.  The eternal pragmatist, the back door has always been a haven for those who just want to get on the bus. No frills or whistles for you, my friend. You just need to get from point A to point B — and some idiot decided to put point B on top of a goddamn mountain, in freezing snow.  The number of fucks you give that you’ll be standing all the way down the mountain: zero.

So now you’re on the bus, and the hard parts over, right? Wrong, motherfucker. Now you have to figure out where you’re going to sit . . .

Window seat: You appreciate the finer things in life, taking in the breathtaking vistas as the bus ascends Burnaby Mount—no, really you just want a something to lean against so you can sleep.  You’re tired, and you don’t give a damn where you get your 40 winks.  You’re an achiever, you overestimate the amount of work you can do, and you suffer for it. Maybe take fewer credits next semester; those bags under your eyes will thank you.

 Aisle seat:  You’re a free spirit. You can hear the open air and wind call your name, Jeff. Okay so your name might not be Jeff, but I did just freak out all the Jeffs reading this article for a second. Anyways, you’re bohemian, non-conformist, and perhaps even a mild claustrophobe.  All right, maybe more than a little. Maybe a lot; maybe the walls are closing in, and if you don’t get off the bus right now, YOU WILL DIE.

Standing: Slacker.  You probably got off from your 4:00 p.m. class, “Intro to Beginners Applied Philosophy: The Basics”, and trundled down the concrete steps to the lower bus loop, because, man, screw going uphill.  There’s all that defying gravity and stuff, can’t I just roll down the hill or something?

Okay, so now you’re sitting comfortably (or standing rather apathetically) on the bus. Now the bus can finally get a move on, right? It has been like 15 minutes since the beginning of this article and you are already late for your tutorial. So can we please get a move on?  NOPE. Now you get to do things while on the bus! How exciting! How a person decides to spend those precious minutes of time is entirely indicative of the type of person they are. For example are you a . . .

Listener: You step on the bus, and first things first: your iPod is out of your pocket and your ear-buds are in your ears. You’re going to spend this ride just like you do every other one, in your own little world populated by you and the frankly embarrassing number of show tunes on your iPod (Mamma Mia, seriously?). So you’re an introvert, there’s no shame in that. Besides, the girl you’re sitting next to with dreadlocks and the “Insane Clown Posse for 4 Lyfe” t-shirt doesn’t exactly look like a wellspring of good conversation.

Talker: Hey you, Mr./Ms. Chatty Cathy — or, umm, Cathy (Cathy can be a man’s name too! Pfft, so close-minded) — you’re a rare one. Everyone usually just keeps to themself. But look at you, out there, chattin’ up random people. You are quite literally the life of the party; you’re the kind of guy or gal who, when the party is winding down, you wind it back the fuck up. But please take care in your gift of the gab, because your bus neighbours might not be so enthusiastic to join in on your conversation, which may get a reaction anywhere from a cold shoulder to them trying to choke you out.

 Watcher:  The watcher is calm, observant, and watching the goings-on in the bus as if they were their own personal theatre troupe. You have the girl frantically typing up the essay she forgot was due today, the too-perky morning person, the TA near comatose after grading 400 midterms, and the guy cutting a pentagram into his arm sitting under the flickering bus light.  Actually you should probably stop watching that guy. In fact, yeah, avoiding all eye contact is probably the best strategy now. Maybe get off at this station and grab the next bus.

Well there you go: an “accurate” description of your personality based on where how you get on, where you sit, and what do you while riding the bus.  Watch out for my next piece “What your gondola riding style says about you!”, which with the latest gondola delays should be slated for sometime in 2065.