the #10 bus

Part of me feels like I ought to start flagging these posts with “JERSEY RANT!!!” for those who want to skip them. In 2008, it seems so passe to complain or be upset. Have you noticed how it’s almost a faux pas to be anything but happy, or at the very least, in an SSRI-enduced haze of apathy. I realize that by griping about my current living conditions while not doing something about it, I may be turning some people off. I live with my BF, I moved to NJ to live with him, and I’m not about to throw in the towel over some commuting issues quite yet. Ok? There, I said it. If you don’t like it, get on the #10 bus and ride!

Quite simply, I need a place to work out my stuff, yannow, my issues with New Jersey, commuting, and the changes taking place in my life. I tried being open-minded about it; I tried taking a positive outlook on these changes; I tried looking for the silver lining; I tried to use the “extra time” for something productive; and I have tried, when all else failed, to deal with it, buck up, be a grown-up about it, but I am now at what feels like the most natural resting place with all of it: simple, unadorned loathing.

I actually find this loathing to be healthy. It is far less exhausting than the constant mental games I used to play in effort to adjust to my new geographic situation (I’m going to isolate my rant to the commute/neighborhood at the moment; “living situation” is too broad, and I would not want to suggest I’m unhappy with my domestic situation, living with mi man, being under the same roof, etc. That is not my gripe…). As I said above, no one likes a whiner or a complainer. You avoid these people in the office; you hope to never ride the elevator with them; and you certainly hope to never encounter them in a place like a waiting room, cinema queue, or supermarket. They can be toxic, scary, and often laughable, but mostly, you just want to steer clear of them.

But I’m not like that. I keep my rage and disgust inside mostly, and leave it here on the blog, so no innocent children or animals are hurt. And for what it’s worth, I have very good relationships with my work-mates and supervisors, and actually just got a very excellent review at work with a small raise and a bonus. *pats self on back* It’s not a Goldman Sachs-sized bonus, but hey, a bonus is a bonus and as I’m still somewhat new to the corporate world, it is a novelty to be rewarded in this manner.

So now that I’m done pretending, justifying, rationalizing, and avoiding, it feels liberating to just state how much I hate the #10 bus. Yes, folks, it is an insane asylum/fat farm on wheels, full of not just the most obnoxious people you’ll ever encounter, but the fattest, craziest, most obnoxious people you’ll meet. Oh, and their offspring. But I’ll get to that later.

beware all hope ye who enter here: the #10 bus

The #10 bus waddles down Kennedy Blvd., which is like “Main Street” except in the hood. Kennedy Blvd. originates in Bayonne, NJ, and runs all the way through Union City and other NJ nabes that I really don’t care to mention right now, and along its route, picks up every nasty, ill-mannered, unwashed (literally), “metabolically challenged,” loud, gum-snapping, infant-toting (and infant-scolding) genius in Northern NJ. Here on the #10 silence is not golden. In fact, silence is shattered with constant loud cell phone talk (in far too intimate detail, and far too early in the morning for so much drama) in a multitude of languages, many of which I can’t even identify (Pashtun? Tagalog? Thai?). Then there are the iPods, Game Boys, PSPs, and Blackberries, beeping, buzzing, and played at volumes that resonate throughout the bus despite the use of earbuds. And no trip on the #10 would be complete without my all-time favorites, the people who play their downloaded music OUT LOUD on their MP3-enabled cell phones. Gee, thanks, I really wanted to hear Ne-Yo this morning.

Not only does the #10 bus seem to carry a disproportionate amount of overweight and behaviorally-challenged adults and adolescents, but the geriatric and infirm population of Northern NJ also makes frequent use of the #10. As such, walkers, canes, and oxygen tanks are not uncommon sights on the #10, and riders who bring these life aids on the bus feel it is their right to take up as many seats as they want for themselves and their equipment. Unlike NYC/MTA buses, there are no signs suggesting to reserve the front seats for elderly or pregnant passengers, so the infirm take seats wherever they please. I’ll never forget the time I sat across from a woman, not older than 50, severely overweight, with an oxygen tank on wheels, getting her Newport out of the box as her stop was approaching.

But even the passengers enjoying robust health seem to forget about simple courtesties to other passengers. Like the time a family got on smelling so strongly of garlic, cumin, and other spices that I was concerned I would arrive at work smelling like I’d just had all-you-can-eat curry. Then of course, there was the mother whose toddler decided the seats in the front of the bus were her own personal playground, and she literally crawled over the laps of other riders and her mother looked sheepishly out the window and tried to lure the devil spawn back with a sad Ziploc baggie of Cheerios. How can I forget the buxom African-American girl with blonde hair extensions who did not only full make-up, but full hair (complete with aerosol products) and accessorizing while the #10 lumbered down Kennedy Blvd.?

Most days on the #10 I try to shut out the world by immersing myself in my book, if I can get a seat, that is. Other days I stare out the window at the faded landscape of Jersey City while I wait for the insanity to either get off the bus, or I reach my stop at Journal Square, whichever comes first. It sure is an interesting way to pass the morning hours.

On that note, perhaps I could save time on my housework, being Slipper Genie, a harried commuter's best friendthat it takes me an ungodly amount of time to get to work, if I just purchased some Slipper Genies and wore those around the house instead of my usual slippers.


~ by Lola on April 22, 2008.

2 Responses to “the #10 bus”

  1. Holy crap, and I thought the bus here was weird. At least you’re converting the bus rides from hell in blog posts worth reading. Kudos for that.

    Oh, and I so need some of those slippers!

  2. i want those slippers!

    you need to rant, it’s healthy. what is UNHEALTHY is to keep it bottled up and then take it out on the rest of your living situation that , overall, seems to be working quite nicely for you.

    also, i would like to remind you of something: the bus in brooklyn. it’s not exactly shang-gri-la!

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