File this one under Ick


My list of bus-riding grievances might just warrant its own blog.

I spend my bus rides almost exclusively reading old-school science fiction, and occasionally checking e-mails and Facebook on my iPad. I keep to myself, so as not to bother or be bothered by other people. Seeing as my home time is mainly taken up by my daughters, my husband, household chores, meals and laundry, I enjoy these few minutes in my little literary bubble.

Yesterday, on my way to work, I was reading Nineteen Eighty-Four (Yes, for the first time. Yes, I’m serious. Those of you wishing to taunt me on the subject can use the Comments section), when I noticed a small, repetitive scraping sound. Its source was the girl sitting directly to my right, filing her nails. Right there. On the bus.

The girl wasn’t just fixing a chipped nail; she went on for over 10 minutes. This girl, who seemed perfectly normal at first glance, simply had no basic concept of acceptable behaviour. I suppose I should be grateful she didn’t start picking and flicking random bits of her breakfast from her teeth.

But it’s difficult feeling grateful when you’re staring at a small pile of finely ground nail bits accumulating at the top of her backpack. I tried focusing on my book, but the relentless scraping sound of her file was too distracting. I kept looking at her, thinking at some point she’d remember she wasn’t in her bathroom. Eventually, she looked right at me, realized I was in fact staring at her, and finally stopped filing, dusting off the top of her backpack with her hand.

As I sat there watching the fingernail dust falling to the floor, I pondered: how do I always end up with such fine specimens of humanity on the public transit sweepstakes? Between the Nail Filer, the guy who repeatedly passed gas next to me, and the man who yelled at the girl on the cell phone, I’m feeling nostalgic about traffic and outrageously unjustified downtown parking fees.

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4 comments on “File this one under Ick

  1. Lidia says:

    Gross. Speaking of which, be sure to ask my mom and sister about the storyland lady.

  2. “1984”? Wasn’t that, like almost 30 years ago? Did they predict anything useful about our future? Hold on, be right back, the Ministry Of Loving Wife is calling me upstairs.

  3. ocdriver2010 says:

    Do you ever wonder if there might be a direct correlation between the mannerless people who are riding public transit and the fact they are riding public transit? Setting aside the cases where mental illness is a factor, perhaps it is logical that someone who routinely behaves in an unpleasant manner might not possess the social skills required to hold a job where they could afford to own and maintain an automobile.
    I definitely get where you are coming from. I just wonder where all of these people originate.

  4. Jo says:

    I took the”safe” looking seat on the bus once…the least crazy looking person there. Five minutes after I sat down, she put away her accounting book and started flossing…

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