As mentioned innumerable times before, my commute kinda blows. To prevent it from ending up with me on top of a tower bellowing threats at a SWAT team, I have to find ways to distract and amuse myself, particularly since the driving itself is no fun at all nor engaging because it's really hard to fuck up and crash OR just enjoy putting a car through its paces when you're averaging 9MPH the whole way. So, podcasts and music do the heavy lifting of distracting me from the boring tediousness of this kind of driving. Once in a while, though, I also get to witness the kind of dumb shit that proves it's been and will continue to be worth my time to work very hard at not getting angry while driving.
Take this morning. Any commuter whose route has them on city surface streets for any length of time knows what it's like to deal with busses. As part of my "Stay Zen" commuting philosophy, I don't waste any energy trying to get ahead of busses or cut them off when I need to turn right and they're in the turning lane… it's a fuckin' bus. No matter when and where you come across one, at some point REAL SOON, it's going to pull over to let people in/out and you will pass it. And they're keeping a large number of folks from being on the road solo in their own cars themselves, clogging shit up worse.
In short: Busses Are A Good Thing. Don't be a dick to busses.
Of course, not everybody adheres to this philosophy. Nay, FEW people do. Most people, for whatever reason, look at a bus in front of their car like it's fucking their mom or something. These people, to be clear, are fuckin' assholes.
As was the guy I saw this morning. Picture your textbook shitty old white guy. In his 70's or just a badly-maintained 60's… white hair flying out all over under a cheap baseball hat. Perma-scowl etched into his face. The kinda guy who you know just by looking at him, he's gonna vote for Trump. The kinda guy that you know ruins at least one Denny's waitress' (he ain't got IHOP money) or Dollar Store clerk's fuckin' day, EVERY day. Just a shitty dude, who has no empathy or sympathy for anyone else as we are all, at best, annoyances getting in the way of his slow march to the grave. And he was NOT about to let a goddamned BUS, paid for by HIS tax money so a bunch of poor browns could possibly come into HIS neighborhood, to get in front of him. No. Fucking. Way. Now… busses are big and powerful, but slow. Takes time to get anything that size up to speed. There are VERY FEW cars that can't out-race a bus from a dead stop. A 2014 Toyota Corolla, however, is one of those cars. Much to Ol' Shithead's impotent fury. The bus driver was an African-American man, middle-aged. He had a look of such grim, focused determination on his face that was positively frightening: this old white prick was NOT getting in front of him. Now, I'm ascribing a lot of motives I can't possibly have been privy to here, but, c'mon: I've seen enough driver vs. bus shitheadery to be able to tell immediately what was going on. I don't know if these guys had been dogging each other for like a mile down Lawrence at this point already or if this was just a single stoplight making of eye contact between two dudes who instinctively oppose each other that led to this, but it was clear that Some Shit Had Gone Down and now these two dudes hated each other. What I _was_ privy to was this sequence of events: Shitty white guy, red-faced and angry, absolutely flooring the miserable 4-pot engine and crap-assed automatic transmission that base-spec penalty box Corolla comes with for all it's worth. Which ain't much. A bus being pushed to (and possibly beyond) the absolute limits of its accelerative powers, to the point that I swear the front end of this thing was rearing upwards as it screamed down the street. The bus didn't win outright, but it got far enough ahead of the Corolla to where it could impose its will in this game of chicken. The parking lane was coming up soon, and the bus either had to hit the brakes or make a move to take the lane. Of course, duder chose to take the lane, and FUCK the asshole in the cheap little import trying to interfere with that plan out of sheer orneriness. Corolla Guy had been trying to fully pass the bus since the previous stop, but his sadmobile had barely got him even with the back third of it by this point. So he's NOT gonna pass the bus, period. The bus driver, for his part, the fuck does he care? His bus weighs about 40,000lbs, empty. That Toyota doesn't even weigh 3,000. Bus driver knows he ain't getting hurt if the Toyota doesn't give and smacks into the back side of his bus. Here's where I find that it gets interesting, though: if Corolla Guy had any spine to back up his impotent anger, he could've taken the hit. Even full out, neither vehicle managed to build up much in the way of speed (I think both that bus and that car are officially rated to do a 0-60MPH run in "maybe"), so the collision would've been annoying and probably really bad for the car but it's a new enough car to be safe enough that a sub-30MPH sideswipe collision is not going to hurt the driver much at all unless the odds are REALLY against him. And then he's basically written himself a check on the City's dime for damages and pain and suffering. But no, that would take even one iota of balls to go through with. Instead, like most screamy old fuckers when actually challenged on their bullshit, Grampa Grumpy backed down, slammed on the brakes, and let the bus take the lane. By now, my lane is moving, so I take one last look at his face: the engulfing depression of utter defeat barely masking a deep-seated, decades-built rage. Yet another defeat, and you, sir, are now 0-for-A Lifetime.
Next time? Maybe let the bus in, and get to Denny's 30 seconds later than you would have otherwise, and leave a fat fuckin' tip when you're done and go home with your dignity intact.