Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The People On The Bus

For the most part my morning bus ride in to work is a routine thing, with the exception of the occasional breakdown as happened yesterday and again last week. Two mechanical problems in as many weeks.....apparently we were falling below our quota for the month. Generally, I catch the 5E for Suncor at around 5:40am and it deposits me back at the same spot anywhere between 6pm and 6:30pm depending on traffic, which I should add, has been pretty good since our new overpass opened last fall.

I've taken a couple different routes as routes periodically change due to ridership. I pretty much always get two seats to myself and usually get off at the same stop at the top of Contractors Row at Suncor. Routine. Once in awhile, as I mentioned, the bus has issues or I end up at Albian Sands after getting the wrong bus as did happen to me last year but as I said....routine. I can pretty much do my morning bus ritual in my sleep. As a matter of fact, I usually am sleeping on the ride in. The only variables really are the passengers on the bus.

In almost 18 months I've bumped into pretty much all kinds. In many ways the little collection of passengers on my bus is a microcosm of society. A few I've chatted with from time to time and others I have little interaction with. Some are downright annoying. If you take a bus to site long enough or work out there you hear some great stories about fellow passengers. Some are humorous. Other stories are a little less flattering.

I've ridden with a few that have been working at Suncor for many years. They know who gets on and off at each stop and a lot more about Fort McMurray (both the good and the bad) than I know. There are the readers and the loud talkers. One lady reads one of those fancy e-book tablet thingys. One fellow only seems to talk at one volume..loud. And that extends to his cell phone. So you, and everyone else around, are privy to the details of his conversation, whether you like it or not. Apparently the man has a lot of family in Edmonton and likes to fish. There's the two ladies from Newfoundland who talk uber-loudly to each other at the front of the bus on the ride home. How two people can have show so much exuberance after a 10 hour shift escapes me. There is the occasional new hire boarding and asking the driver to be let off at the main gate so they can catch the a bus to the training centre. There is the lady that coughs, snorts and sucks it back really loud. She must have a bad cold. I hope she gets better soon. A lot of us do. A month is a long time. One time last year, one delightful ignoramus sat down on the seat next to me and woke me up by tossing my bag containing my lunch onto my lap where it then spilled out all over the floor. Without apology, or even acknowledgment of my existence, he then pulled out his cell phone and began a loud conversation oblivious to my glaring eye.

Then, there is the hodge-podge of the cranky, the self-assured, the know-it-alls and so forth. The most challenging though, is always the snorer. One particular occasion stands out for me during last year's shut-down. Thankfully this guy only rode my bus a few times. He must have been a temporary hire with the shut down. Anyhow, on the one evening ride home he drifted off in the seat behind me and began to snore. Loudly. Very loudly. Somehow the kid with the loud music blaring on the ipod that I happen across on a city bus didn't seem so trying. Anyhow, a louder snorer I've never heard. The first time, it was actually funny to listen to. I'm sure the driver way at the front could hear it as well. I had to avoid eye contact with a co-worker of mine on the same route as every time we looked at each other it took a super-human effort not to burst into laughter at this guy's crazy snoring. Fast forward a few more days into the shift and I found my end of the day snooze was starting to be severely truncated. The humour was wearing off. Fortunately, I didn't see much of this individual after this but there was one particular day I did opt to get off at the first stop in the rain and walk a good kilometre or so home rather than subject myself to his snoring symphony.

So, yes. While I'll admit there were times I found myself annoyed, I do have to crack a smile as I recall some of these little episodes. I do have to say that for the most part I don't mind the early get ups and relish the chance to grab a little extra shut-eye rather than deal with early morning traffic.

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