Friday, September 26, 2014

Guest Post: Bus Pet Peeve #1, Blocking The Aisle

It’s time for another guest blog post. My friend and former colleague, Chintan, takes the NJ Transit bus to and from Manhattan each day. The bus has its own series of challenges. Whether you take the train, bus, airplane, car, or rickshaw to your destination, there will always be people who commute in their own world.

Today is Friday, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish holiday.  Whenever there’s a holiday, the commute is better. The highway traffic is lighter, the equivalent of driving at 8 am on a Sunday morning. On most days, the buses are full, but today there were plenty of seats. The bus even arrived one minute before its scheduled time. 

I got on the bus, and BAM ! Snapped back to reality. I encountered a clueless upper class woman. 

Before I continue the story, a bit of background info and some math. NJ Transit buses seat 49. There are twelve rows of four seats, with two on either side of the aisle. Where is the 49th seat, you ask? The twelfth row has five seats. The twelfth row will be the topic of another guest post. 

The aisle is twelve inches wide, and it’s as narrow as it sounds. Because of the narrow aisle, most people like to sit by the window to avoid being bumped by those boarding the bus. If anyone puts anything in the aisle, it’s an obstruction. Sometimes it’s unsafe, sometimes it’s an annoyance. Today it was both. 

So getting back to the story, there is an electronic sign above the driver that displays what number you are when you get on. As I boarded, I saw that only 26 people were on. Fantastic!

The clueless upper class woman was sitting in the second row, in an aisle seat. She had two bags. Where did she decide to put her bag? On the armrest, blocking the aisle. See the photo.

The seat next to her was empty. Everyone had to get past her and her hanging bag. In case you are wondering, the bag was open and contained the following items: a water bottle, a CVS plastic bag, and gray sweats. Well, working out is important, so no problem. By all means, keep your expensive purse in your lap and your huge second bag in the way of your fellow commuters.

Can't wait to run into her again when the winter coats come out. 

End of rant.  Enjoy the holiday.

Thanks Chintan, for sharing your story!


Happy and safe commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.

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  1. Also, the bag is a Longchamp bag but based on this story, I'm betting it's a knock off version.

    1. I suppose when Chintan inevitably runs into her again, he can double-check.

  2. this is why collectors should have cattle prods. My favorite aisle blockers are the people who stand in the aisle 10 minutes to an hour before their stop.

    1. That's typical train behavior... I wonder if people do that on the bus. Chintan?

    2. No – the bus is less stable than a train, so people only stand when they have to.

  3. I wonder if there's a way to say "move your bag out of the aisle" that won't offend the lady...maybe "Ma'am, Derek Jeter said he'll get a hit for you tonight if you move that bag out of the aisle"

    1. Something tells me this woman would be more responsive to a polo great than a baseball great.