Bus journey ritual.

Strangers stare as I step on. What if I trip up before I even get on the bus? I bet they hate my clothes. Head to toe in black; this is why I’ll never fit in.

Bus driver said, “Morning”. This is new. Of course, my brain fails me. I cut straight to the exchanging of money and the name of my desired destination, ignoring his attempt at polite small-talk. I seem impolite, as usual. Poor bus driver.

Wrong money. Too much, not enough – it’s bound to be off somehow. I counted it twenty times. They’ve changed the price. Great, now I look like I can’t count. Like I’m cheap. Quickly, I just say thank you and hurry for my seat.

Worse. What if when in my rush to be seated, (so i don’t fall when the bus driver inevitably pulls away while I’m still in the walkway… resulting in me being catapulting into the nearest victim), someone sits by me. Their leg against mine. My brain screaming at me the entire journey. Are they as aware of this as i am?

Worse still. Having to stand. Gripping on for dear life onto the hand holds dangling down. I’m highly un-coordinated. I’m in the way. My fat arse, and a huge bag filled with objects that I don’t feel safe away from home without. I’m falling again. Being a nuisance.

Desperately trying not to make eye contact. Ignorant.

Not wanting to seem impolite. Not wanting to give enough of a reason for someone to comment. Smiling too much. Always end up rudely staring. Zoning out. Or observing… always observing. Far too invested in people’s conversations. Constantly watching people like they’re my own personal TV show. Watching how people engage. Watching their mannerisms. Fascinating.

They all look so natural in this environment. They all know their part to play in society. They portrey it well. Perfectly executed.

What if I look weird? Besides the obvious zoning off and staring. I look weird; visibly nervous. What if they think I’m up to something? What if they think something is wrong with me?

What if someone strikes up a conversation? My mouth full of unfocused, meaningless sentences. Feigned interest written all over my face. Can they tell? I have little to no desire to converse with these people. Just let me enjoy watching you. Don’t make my brain have to work, just let me switch it off.

I’ll only say something inappropriate, damaging their perfect facade with my jagged, nonchalant responses. So just save us both the worry and don’t interact with me.

Who leaves first? Do I wait until everyone has left and look like one of those weirdly, overly nice people? Or do I wait until someone lets me go? What if no one lets me go? What if my preferred seat (second back on the left, for those that care) is taken?

Then I’m at the back. Who lets who off first then? Do I see a gap and run? What if, due to this act of panic, I trip and fall? God knows I’ll be thinking of this selfish perturbation for the rest of the week if it were to happen…

The last worry to top this journey off… what if I’m departing earlier than the last stop. I have to press that damn stop button.

An unnecessarily loud “ping” notifies everyone to prepare for the huge cow to waddle off. Great. I sit anxiously at the edge of my seat. Prepared. Can’t stand too early, I’ll fall. Can’t wait too long, people will be frustrated with me. I stand up at the perfect time, and proceed in the walk of shame down the walkway.

I step out onto the path. I survived.

Now to cross the road.

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15 thoughts on “Bus journey ritual.

  1. This is 100% me when I’m on the bus!!

    Sometimes I would be so engaged in other peoples conversations that I would find myself laughing along. It was so embarrassing because I couldn’t stop laughing! And I was by myself! Since then I put headphones on so that I can avoid that situation altogether.

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    1. Yes this is the issue. I feel nosey and weird like im intruding. They will turn around and look at me as if i have a problem with them, thats why im staring, but really i get carried away. Its interesting to watch others, and i just kinda forget where i am and that theres others around me, its like watching a tv show i forget its real and i forget im smiling and looking. I get really invested. Sometimes i forget my bus stop. I started doing it to calm myself down. But now its like soothing, however like i said i do get side tracked and people think im odd cos i look at them.

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      1. I just want to mention something that has been super helpful for me… my psychologist drilled into my thoughts that we have no way of knowing what other people are thinking about us. It’s actually so true!! So when you say that “people think I’m odd” they might think that but they may also be looking at you because they love your earrings that you picked out that day or your choice of makeup. I started to tell myself this and it helps SO MUCH. It’s very hard!! I still have both negative and positive thoughts battling each other but at least the positive thoughts are there.

        Also, what happens to you if they think you’re odd? Embrace the odd! It’s so much better than being like everyone else and being “normal”! ♥️ if someone says that I’m weird or odd I say “well ya, I hope so!”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I often don’t know whether to greet the bus driver or not. Then I feel weird when the driver says good morning to me, so I say it back to be polite.

    It really is disarming when the bus starts pulling away while you haven’t gotten to a seat yet. I once had to balance myself during that in addition to holding a wet umbrella. I kept worrying the water on it would drip on someone else. And then for the people who are seated to be staring at me. Ugh, how intimidating. I usually try to pretend I don’t care. I think about how if they were in my shoes, they would be stared at by other people too. About people looking like they fit in, I get that feeling too. Sometimes I feel singled out when all of them are looking my way. Maybe it’s an evolutionary thing where the group mentality can make a person feel left out? How I combat the uncomfortable sensation is to fake it, like in my mind I am uncomfortable but I try to focus on the next task (finding a seat or finding a place to stand for the rest of the ride). The seat I never want to take is the window one when there are two seats linked together. I can’t stand having to ask the person next to me to move when it’s my stop to get off.

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    1. I know i seems rude but i sit near the front but away from where the pushchairs go. So i dont have to move and draw attention to myself if someone gets on with a pushchair. And i will sit in the seat behind the front row but on the edge by the walkway and place my bag in the seat next to me and pray that no one needs the seat next to mine. Since the buses are rarely full this isnt an issue usually which im grateful for!

      I relate to the umbrella thing, its like me with my bag i know its huge and it gets in the way but i need it. I dont feel safe without it so i take it everywhere and i get really nervous and concious that people are looking at me because of it. I worry i will bop someone with it. Plus if i have a earphones i worry if that get caught. And theres so many things i stress over. Like tripping over peoples feet or worse treading on peoples feet.

      I get what you mean about acting like you dont care, i try this and usually it works. Like if im paricularly stressed before entering somewhere ill just put this act on. I worry it makes me look rude and insensitive but sometimes its easier that worrying. Switching off and not overthinking sometimes helps when im too exhausting to keep it up. But after i feel bad when i start to think again about the things i may have done by not overthinking. Honestly its all just abit overwhelming x

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      1. Buses that aren’t full are definitely less of a hassle. It means more space but also less people crowding around. I realize from my own recent experience with a crowd in public that I am bothered by being in a crowd and makes me feel very closed-in.

        The bag thing is relatable. I feel weird going somewhere without my bag because then I have nothing to adjust or grab onto out of habit. I think it’s a common fear to be afraid of accidentally knocking into someone but the likelihood of it happening is slim. And it’s interesting as I was once in a situation where a woman almost hit me with her umbrella and she was super apologetic about it. I was very surprised by her reaction because I could tell she was really nervous about offending me, like apologizing to the point of overapologizing. That gave me a little insight into the idea that a complete stranger who I assume is calm and collected also knows what it means to be anxious. So that person wasn’t too different from me.

        To overthink or not overthink, that is the question, lol. I used to obsessively think about past things where I felt I screwed up and think about what I could’ve done instead. It sucks feeling like I made the wrong decisions but at the same time, it’s kinda like, well, what’s done is done and I can’t change it. I overthink a lot but wish I had a good balance between being reasonably cautious but not to such an extreme degree where I care *too* much about every little thing and actually end up making more trouble for myself than the situation calls for.

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      2. Im guilty of over apologising, and I’ve also experienced others being like that too. It kinda made me feel better about worrying so much about others perceptions of me, since these others that apologise must too worry. I think my problem is i think im the only one. And i dont mean to be self important and think no one else has worries or troubles like me. Thats not it, i understand that others feel that way, but sometimes it feels I’m the only one amd no one will ever understand. I feel alienated and alone. So often when i see others mirror my actions it makes me realise im not as alone as i first feared.

        I’m so glad we comment too each other, that too makes me feel less alienated. For this I’m grateful.

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