If you follow my twitter feed, you know that commuting from New Jersey to New York is terrible. Especially if you have the misfortune of needing to take the bus.
There are a couple of reasons for this, the primary two being NJ Transit, which is simply a poorly run organization, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal, a decaying, trash-filled, cesspool, that is far too small for the amount of traffic it fails to accommodate every day. I could go into the reasons why things are like this (the main one being the worst sitting governor in the country), but that’s a different rant.
One of the other reasons why the commute is so painful is that people don’t know how to commute well. Commuting well requires recognizing that other people are there with you. It means understanding that they need to get somewhere soon too. You’re not special.
Empathy and self-awareness. Both of them. At the same time. Not easy for some, it seems.
There’s a life lesson there, isn’t there?
At times I am tempted to draw generational distinctions, and then someone apparently my age or older acts like a self-centered idiot, and I realize that age has nothing to do with it. Neither does rap music, comic books, watching American Idol, taking too many selfies, understanding Snapchat, or playing video games.
Assholes are just assholes. It’s universal.
So yesterday (last week for you) I saw a prime example.
When we board the bus to go home, we enter a door at the end of our gate and walk a short and narrow strip of sidewalk. Our bus line is very busy and chronically over-crowded in both directions, so the gates, and this tiny strip of sidewalk, always has a lot of people on it.
This tiny strip of sidewalk is also outside of the gate, in a bus terminal that’s full of loud buses that are coming and going.
So naturally, this is where more than a few people think they should stop and call their significant others.
“I’M GETTING ON THE BUS.”
This is screamed into the phone. But it’s so loud outside of the gate that it sounds faint even to the fellow traveler that is trying to squeeze past the narcissistic, self-interested, idiotic, moron that couldn’t have made the call, well, any other time then while (s)he and sixty other people are trying to get on a bus.
And my favorite:
“I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”
No shit? Really? Then what makes you think they can hear you?
What strikes me about this is that it makes it hard for everyone: the other passengers, the idiot on the phone, and the poor person on the other end of the phone.
Do you have to commute to work? What makes it fun for you?