I’ve been taking the bus for a long time now. Over the years, you tend to pick up little things about bus etiquette and how not to get wet when it rains and you’re hanging off the foot-board. I thought I’d share some of the wisdom I’ve acquired.
Hailing a bus – Sri Lankan private buses come in many varieties. There are buses which seem to stop at every bus stop there is, and everywhere in between, and then there are buses which like to pretend all passengers can magically teleport themselves inside the bus if it passes near them. You have to aim for the middle-ground buses. These can be fairly easy to flag down, but if you’re by yourself,be prepared for a brisk sprint.
Entering a bus – Now, what is important is how fast that you are moving. If you and the bus are standing still, you sho- oh come on, we both know that’s never going to happen. So, assuming you’re jogging along the bus, try to equalize your velocities. Your chances of looking ridiculous are directly proportional to your relative velocity. And, well, your ability to leap gracefully. You need to judge the point when the bus is moving slowest. This will take a few tries. When you sense it, jump on. Choice of door depends on personal preference. Some prefer the front, some prefer… Nevermind.
Navigating the insides of a bus – Since you’re on a bus, I’m going to go and assume you’re given to flights of lunacy. We can’t have those on the bus. Only the conductor is allowed to do so. You get in, sit down, and shut up. If you don’t carry exact change, have a strange haircut or look at the conductor funny, be prepared to feel an effect equivalent to six mother-in-laws complaining about how you could never live up to their husbands and how you’re too impotent to know how to count change. Logic, logic cannot survive in such harsh climates.
Exiting a bus – This is an extremely important aspect of any bus journey. Many are the technical aspects of the perfect exit, one that takes a lifetime to refine, which, if you’re like most people and do not posses masochistic tendencies, you’ll want to avoid. But, you do wish to live long enough to outgrow the bus, so read carefully. If you are a) pregnant, b) have a heart condition or similar, c) are shorter than Himal, or d) sane, avoid exiting the bus while it is moving. Real life is not Speed. If you must, then head towards the exit closest to you. Avoid the front exit if you wish to disembark while the craft is turning, as you will have a quick meeting with the front wheel, and then drop in for a surprise visit to the deity or gatekeeper to paradise of your choice. If you lean that way. Otherwise you have the far less glamorous option of The End. Once you’ve positioned yourself on the bottom of the footboard, again, try to sense when the bus is at its slowest. Leap. Like a paratrooper, you must be prepared to land running, on your feet, soldier! Tripping up will cost you, at the least, your dignity.
If you’ve managed to complete all the above without bodily harm, congratulations. Give yourself a pat on the back. Then punch yourself in the face. Preparation for the next 154 you have to take.
Additionally, the disparity between men and women on a bus is just odd. How often do you see women getting onto a moving bus, or exiting one? What gives, womenfolk? Ask your menfolk how to use the commenting system if you need assistance. Recipes are not welcome.