This entire week and last weekend DC has been getting pummeled with rain. So much so that many people who typically walk to work are now taking the bus. This makes it much more difficult to find a seat.
The other morning I made my walk to the bus stop through a slight rain, one of those storms that’s not really that bad but it’s just misting enough to piss you off. I arrived at the bus stop and waited in line behind a few people who were already there. Once the bus drove up we made our way, single file, onto the bus.
I stepped up, scanned my card, and turned and saw, to my horror, that only one seat was open. It was in the front of the bus in the handicapped section. A bit of bus etiquette, these six seats are usually held open for the elderly or people who are handicapped. If you sit there and you are not either of those, you are expected to get up and give your seat up for that person should they get on the bus.
With my boot on my foot I felt I was qualified to take that last open seat so I made a dash for it and sat down. While I sat down, I made sure to flash my boot at everyone around me for validation.
Things were off to an okay start. Everyone seemed to be in a silent agreement that it was acceptable for me to be sitting there. The tide started to turn though, as the bus began to get full.
An old lady hobbled her way onto the bus at one stop and I could feel her stare at me through her cataract sunglasses. I knew she wanted my sweet, comfy seat. But I wasn’t having it. I was injured! And, after the bus dropped me off I still had a 20 minute walk before I got to work so I needed my rest!
Several newcomers who had not been a part of the initial silent agreement, and who also didn’t see my boot began to give me some looks. I looked to my compatriots who had been with me since the beginning, hoping they’d share with the new passengers the silent agreement we had all made. But it was to no avail. I was all alone.
I felt very similar to Billy Zane’s character in “Titanic.” When the ship starts to sink and everyone is running for the life boats but they are only letting women and children on. Zane grabs a random child and starts shouting “I have a child! Let me on! I have a child!” That was me. Except my plea was “I have a boot! Let me sit! I have a boot!”
It seemed the closer we got to my stop more old ladies got on the bus. “Is there a new rest home that just opened up on my route?” I began to wonder. “Is there a great sale at JCPenney this morning? Is Barry Manilow in town?”
I had no idea. But the bus was filling up with old ladies faster than J&S on a Sunday after church. Each time they shot me a look, I silently pled “I have a boot!” “I have a boot!”
We finally arrived at our destination. We all slowly made our way off the bus. I looked back at the bus the way all the rich people who had made their way onto a lifeboat and were staring at the Titanic from a distance. I made an a vow to never sit in those seats again.