In addition to riding my bicycle, I utilize public transportation to get around, whether for responsibility or leisure. Sadly, Los Angeles doesn't have the most reliable or available or service, but for what it is, it's okay. I've been taking the bus regularly since I was thirteen - to school and to a part-time job with the LAUSD - so there's something to be said about its overall impact on my life. For instance, if people ask me how to get from Point A to Point B, I like that I can list off a few lines going in their direction. I like knowing this information myself. I also like the relative freedom of hopping on, taking a seat, and getting where I need to go.
For all the "no muss, no fuss" experiences I've had, there have been some serious "WTF?!" moments as well. This entry will cover some patrons' habits that - while extraordinarily general - fall in the middle. That fact, however, doesn't make them any less annoying and discourteous.
My biggest observational peeve involves those who take the outermost seat in each row of two seats. This I can understand if the bus is empty, but even then I don't really. Perhaps it's just preference, but I'd rather sit by the window so that should someone take a seat next to me, (a) I don't have to slide over and/or (b) they don't have to crawl over me. Which brings up another point - if you're not comfortable with being surrounded by people, then you might want to get a car. If you find yourself taking public transportation in Los Angeles for as many years as I have, you will inevitably experience having someone's crotch in your face, and it won't be mutual.
Pulling the cord for a stop shouldn't be complicated, but I can understand if you've forgotten your stop was coming up and you yank the thing with an unintended force. Realize, however, that pulling it once is all that's necessary. There are these flashing signs on the trains/buses now that say STOP REQUESTED, and for some reason in between flashes some patrons re-yank the cord with just as much gusto, sometimes causing the thing to break. I have been on buses before where the cord legitimately didn't work before, so at times it's justified - but in that case, a little "Driver, next stop, please" works just fine. And if he/she doesn't listen/didn't hear you, an impassioned "STOP!" never hurts either. I guess that's why they installed those red STOP buttons on the newer buses now. They got tired of people yelling at them.
I realize that we now live in a modern age where men don't have to necessarily be chivalrous, as in giving up their seats for women, women/men with children/shopping bags or the elderly - but I'm a 25-year-old woman who will give her seat up for a man who looks like he's 60. I will gladly stand unless he says no. My point is that it should be common courtesy to think of others. I guess that's what this whole thing is about, actually. Sometimes I admit to being a little aloof - either I've had a really crappy day or my iPod is turned up a little too loud - but it's rare that I miss out on an opportunity to make someone's moment a bit easier. It's my little give and take with the universe, what can I say?
To be continued...