Today I will once again place you into the world of mental peril, otherwise known as the Philadelphia mass transit system. We've seen the panhandler and the two-seat jerk, and we'll be visiting the salesman soon. But this adventure focuses on maybe the worst offender in terms of sheer numbers: the oblivious mom.
She comes in many shapes and sizes, and may or may not have a needlessly giant stroller, but you can know one thing for certain: she is never in your way, you are always in hers. So take a deep breath and let's hop on the bus!
Monday morning, there you stand on the corner waiting for your first mode of transit of the day. You see it coming down the block and clutch your pass, hoping for the EXPRESS route since your destination is the end of the line. No such luck today. You see a few people standing near the front and start to worry. Relief takes over when a bunch of them get off, making room for you to at least not have to stand in the door for part of your ride.
You swipe your pass and look to the back of the bus to see her, sitting in the aisle seat with a fold-able stroller blocking the path (there's a good chance the window seat next to her is empty, also).
Determined to at least be out of the way, you glide toward her - hoping to squeeze by to get to the "upper deck." You reach her easily, but then she makes a surprise move: the old purse on the handle routine.
And this isn't any normal purse. Like the stroller, this is huge. at least twice the size she needs. But she doesn't care because she has lots of things she needs to lose in there. Unfortunately that was your window and she slammed it shut. But you try to make your way by contorting yourself to fit between the person in the seat on the left, and the purse/stroller on the right (a space high-school you could have easily navigated).
You get caught in the purse and try to shift it to one side. Of course this is the one time she looks up from her phone, and the look you get is...well something like this:
|The "you're dead to me" look has other uses!|
Again, she was not in your way. You got in her way and dared to get close to her stuff. She stares at you. Then looks at her phone again before hitting you with every four-letter word she knows, not caring that her kids are hanging on every one of them. The issue isn't her giant stroller, or that her kids are climbing all over other passengers. What matters is who she's texting and that you had the balls to get in her way. How could you?!
At this point you may be thinking these moms (they're everywhere around here) are teens, or in their early twenties at most. But you may be shocked to know that the most common offenders are those totally old enough to know better. Plus, they usually have multiple kids. So they should have realized by now that their behavior is immature and best and harmful at worst - kids are quite impressionable, after all.
Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do when faced with this person. You could confront her. But really, what does that do? The best case scenario there is you have a shouting match before shuffling back to the first open spot. At worst, she throws a kid at you. So at least you might be part of a show!
Since I can't offer advice, let me just say very plainly that this nonsense needs to stop. I know that your phone is important to you. But you have a responsibility to both your kids and your fellow passengers: to make sure the former stay safe, and the latter don't hate you. Most city bus rides aren't that long. You can live without your phone for a few minutes in exchange for - wait for it - talking to your kids!
I'll let that sink in as I leave you for now. Come back next time for another transit tale, or something completely different!
Crap open a cold one!