I’ve talked about the ups and downs of discount buses. The ups clearly revolve around the price. The downs are numerous. The bus can be late, you can have an unfortunate seat partner, the bus can have a horrible smell, or you can realize while using the bathroom that people in other cars can in fact see you. This is all hypothetically speaking, of course.
I’ve been seated next to a wide variety of individuals in my time spent on discount buses. To name a few, there was the man who sobbed to me for the entire trip about his recent breakup, the pungent fish sandwich eater, and the extremely loud cell phone talker.
Yet today I had a completely normal, quiet, polite seat partner.
I looked around for the unfortunate seat partner – and realized it was me.
Let’s back up a little bit. I had rushed over to the bus around 4, not having time to eat my packed lunch before I left. It’s been one of those weeks where I ended up just sautéing everything I had together for my lunches. My particular concoction this week was eggs, cheese, sausage, couscous, and green peppers. I realized while standing in line for the bus that I didn’t have a spoon or fork. My mind raced to try to figure out a substitution. A folded up piece of paper? A paperclip?
Finally, when the bus arrived 30 minutes late, I was ravenous. I sat down, took out my lunch, took a deep breath, and started eating it with my hands. Fortunately, I had learned to do this properly in Nepal over last summer. Soon I started getting looks from the other passengers. Not only was I eating a dish primarily composed of couscous with my hands, but the dish definitely smelled of eggs.
In that moment, I realized that I was the weird lady on the bus. Perhaps the other passengers were texting their friends as I’ve so often texted mine, regaling them with the story of the lady eating egg couscous with her hands.
I was soon saved from the scrutiny when another passenger spilled a large Dunkin Donuts coffee all over the floor.