So far, Zelda and I have encountered mostly courteous and friendly people, some helpful and some indifferent. I have been using her more frequently and giving myself over to the reality of her place in my life and the confidence she can give me, if I allow it. My last two bus trips, I had her out and open on the bus; the first time, the bus was almost empty and I took my allotted seat in the “reserved for disabled” section. Today, the bus was much more crowded.
I got on to find that all of the front seats, those reserved for elderly and disabled passengers, were occupied by screaming, self-indulgent middle school kids. I walked toward the reserved section, and not one of them moved to get up and offer me a seat. I had to practically force one of the boys, taking up an entire double seat just beyond the single reserved seats, to move over and let me sit down. I was not happy.
It isn’t that I think I deserve a special seat because of my visual impairment; I was pissed off because not one of these 7 kids showed a speck of courtesy or decency. I don’t have a lot of expectations of 13 year olds, they are often narcissistic little shits, but I do think that parents should teach their kids to be at least a little bit polite and compassionate. These kids were neither, and as the ride continued, they showed just how monstrous they actually were.
Even more annoying and rude than not offering the blind lady a seat that is technically reserved for her, was the volume at which they chose to speak. I wouldn’t actually call it speaking, it was more like shrieking and shouting. They were so loud that I couldn’t hear the stop announcements, and I swear they were in fucking competition to see who could be the loudest and most obnoxious.
They kept getting up out of their seats to show each other things on their phones and one kid was standing in the aisle, doing some bizarre contortion dance and crank calling Dominoes pizza. On one call, he ordered 42 pizzas, on another he ordered a boneless pizza and some power tools and on another he ordered a whole chicken , a box of pens and a lawnmower. I wasn’t eaves dropping, the whole bus heard this idiot kid, who got louder and louder as his friends screamed at every new crank call he made.
I was in hell and I had no escape. Twice, I put my hand up in a gesture of disapproval when they got so loud it was hurting my ears, but I never said anything. I wanted to. I wanted to tell them to take it down and that they were rude and discourteous to every person on the bus, but I just sat there and waited for them to get off. I don’t know why. Perhaps I felt like it wasn’t worth my time or energy; they aren’t my kids and they wouldn’t listen anyway. Or perhaps my fear of having even more attention drawn to me keeps me silent when I shouldn’t be. The truth is, I know I should have told them to shut the fuck up. They believed me to be totally blind – I know this because I heard them talking about it – and still they shrieked and cavorted and didn’t give a thought to the fact that I, and perhaps lots of others on the bus, may need to hear the stops in order to know where the hell we were.
When they finally started getting off, at various stops way too close to where I live, they left with the same level of disregard for other people as they had shown the entire ride. The kid next to me grunted at me and said,” hey, I need to get off now.” No excuse me, not even an attempt at a polite tone. Another kid stood at the entrance for about 8 stops, apparently waiting for hers, and didn’t move out of the way for people getting on the bus. I heard one guy say to her, “excuse me,” politely, and then, “or not”, with biting sarcasm. I bet he would have said something to all of them had he been privy to their lovely demeanor for the entire ride.
The only consolation at this point was that, as each kid got off the bus, the remaining ones got slowly quieter. Contortion dance crank call boy was the last one to leave, and he stood there like a guilty wet rag, not saying a word.