During my commute I always see different people on the bus going to work as opposed to the one going back. The time at each bus stop is usually passed recounting stories of various characters that we may or may not have in common during our trips on busses of differing schedules.
Characters like the frail Chinese lady with a perm who always takes up two seats or the Russian guy who's always talking to his friend really loud because he's talking over the walkman he's wearing. Let's not forget the stinky guy who probably has a liver problem who always smells like a day-old bar or my personal favorite, the "homely" woman who spends most of her time highlighting passages on her latest Christian "Awake!" issue and the rest of it being rude to other passengers and shoving elbows in their ribs. She's not to be confused with the lady who highlights passages in her dictionary-sized large-type bible, she's the real deal, always smiling, waving and telling other passengers as they get off the bus "God bless you on this beautiful day!"
This morning I'm standing at the bus stop with the short spinster with the Luis Vuitton backpack who always complains about her hip problems.
"Do you know the Odd Chinese Lady?" she asks.
"You mean the one with the perm and space issues?"
"No, not that one. No one wants to sit next to this one. She talks. She's... odd."
"No, sorry I haven't caught the bus with her yet," I reply.
"Oh it was awful! Yesterday, on the bus on the way home she got on and the last seat was taken by this guy's briefcase so she went to the back of the bus and sat in the stairwell!
"I was sitting right across from him," she continued. ".. and I asked the lady next to me 'isn't that just awful? Even if we don't want to sit next to her isn't she entitled to the last seat?' and my friend said 'yes, I feel terrible we should tell her there's an empty seat.' I know... isn't that awful? I mean she paid for it just like the rest of us!"
I interrupt her , "So, you sent the guy with the briefcase to tell her there was an empty seat, right?"
"Oh no, of course not. Wasn't that awful? We just felt terrible, the whole way home we kept discussing how terrible we felt. Wasn't that awful?"
In disbelief I ask, "and she sat there, in the stariwell, the whole way home?!?"
"Of course, wasn't that absolutely awful?"
I was saved from having to bear another second of this story by the approaching bus. As I went up the steps of the bus, I looked over my shoulder and nodded "It was awful...." and then I sat in my usual place.
I completed the rest of what I wanted to say in my mind "... that you sat there discussing how terrible your felt for 20 minutes while the lady was forced to sit in the stairwell the whole way home! Why didn't you get up to tell her there was an empty seat?!?"
I looked up to see the short spinster with the Luis Vuitton backpack animating to the old lady with the veiny legs that always wears short skirts and see-thru hose. Her eyes wide, her face stricken with pain, the old lady with her hand over he mouth with a look of horror, and between engine bursts I could hear "... awful? ......... just awful..... seat?!?"
That, was awful.