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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

Part two of the things that muck up Bus Etiquette: Is that lady pregnant, or is she just plain fat?

Giving up your seat, as already covered, is a difficult mine field in which to venture your precious little paws. As a lady, and as a lady who can climb stairs, I quite often side step these mine fields, because the golden rule of bus travel is if you're sat upstairs you don't need to give up your seat for no one, no how. Once ensconced upstairs, you don't even need to pay attention to your fellow travellers. You don't even need to look up once at the idiotic fool who has plonked themselves beside you. In fact, it's best you don't. In the winter months, they usually have a streaming cold involving all sorts of bodily fluids that, when you're trapped between them and the wall of the bus, might make you spontaneously throw up such is the wretched foulness of their state. I get trapped in the paranoia of catching colds from people on buses, and have to resist the very strong temptation to strap on a gas mask and start pushing away the unclean. In the summer months, it's almost worse, because their exposed flesh is pressed up against your exposed flesh and it's a whole fleshy sweaty thing that makes my skin crawl to think on it. (What I need, I realise now, is a chauffeur.) So it's best not to look at what's sat beside you at any point ever, and on the upper deck that's perfectly allowable, nay actively encouraged.

But yes. The point in hand. When sitting downstairs, it is assumed that when someone who is a little bit more shaky on the legs, or slightly more laden down, or a bit spakky around the head, gets on the bus, you as the able-bodied or younger or less sanity-imbalanced should give up your seat so the special needs can have a nice sit down while enjoying their day out in the community. And that's fine and dandy and quite as it should be - those in need of seats get seats, those who aren't so needful in the seat department can happily hang on for dear life as the driver takes corners on two wheels and tries to tip the bus on it's side. This system works spectacularly well for the most part. The only problem is, I can never decide who is worthy, and who just looks a bit worthy.

See, if a lady is pregnant, she's in dire need of a seat. She will have been made all fat and round by a gentleman's special hug, and there will be a tiny human baby growing inside her tummy. This makes her ankles sore and her legs swell up, and all these ladies want more than anything in the world is a cigarette and a nice sit down. Since you're not allowed to smoke when you're pregnant, the next best thing is the sit down, and ladies with babies on board like nothing more than a long sit down, particularly on a bus. So the immediately decent thing to do when spying a lady with a large prominent tummy is to offer up your seat for the sake of her and her unborn. And thus introduces the constant conundrum when travelling on the bus - Is that lady merely Fat or is she With Child?

Do you offer the seat and risk calling her a loafing heifer right to her face, or do you ignore her plight and possibly damage her vertebrae forever? Do you give up your seat to someone who basically has spent too much quality time with chocolate, or do you snub the wonderful life givers of this world, those who suffer so that our species can continue?

I find it best to ignore everyone, always, ever.


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