Monday, May 06, 2013

Kafka's busdriver: fits of temper

Odd experience the other day: I was doing the run from the Commercial and Broadway Skytrain to where the 99 B-Line was waiting, half a block down the street. The front and middle doors of the bus were all closed, but - for reasons unknown to me - the last doors were open, which seemed kind of perverse ("make him run as far as possible! He needs the exercise!"). With no options, I sprinted the length of the bus, but just as I got to them, the doors slammed shut in my face with force. When I regained my composure I looked and saw that someone had pulled them closed, and that, in fact, it was the driver, barring my entry, which, for about a nanosecond, I took personally, which may have shown in my expression. Still wishing entry, I sprinted back up the length of the bus, where the front doors remained closed. As he took his seat, I looked the driver in the eye, to register that I still wished to get on. He looked steamed, like I'd done something wrong, and seemed to be considering just driving off. After a pause, he reluctantly opened the door, whereupon the following transaction occurred:

Him, angrily: "DON'T YELL AT ME, there's something wrong with the door!"

Me, puzzled but calm, as I take care of the fare-thing: "I didn't yell, I didn't say a word - I just didn't know what was going on."

Him, still angrily: "Just don't yell at me! I get yelled at all day long!"

Me, angrily now myself: "I DIDN'T YELL AT YOU!"

Him: "You're yelling now!"

Me: "I AM!" ...And try as I might, I couldn't find a way to pithily formulate anything further, though if I were sharper, I think I would have added, "Ya happy now?"

Him: "Keep it up and you're off the bus."

This dude is probably a little too high-strung to be a bus driver.

I have my own moments, of course. I got righteously steamed at a cafe employee yesterday, to the extent that I ended up storming out of the cafe, vowing never to return (*after* I finished the meal that I was eating there, that is). She'd served my food to go, with a plastic bag and a plastic fork and some waste paper, too. I had said that I was eating in, so then she gave me a plate, and I began to unwrap my wrap. Before I began to eat, though, concerned that the plastic bag and plastic fork would immediately get dumped in the garbage if I left them at my table - trying to return them to her within the "these are still untainted and safe to reuse" window, I stood and placed them on a table behind her, saying something like, "these are still good to reuse." (Having been tsk-tsked by those purer than myself into a state of ethical paranoia, I have become somewhat strange about the production of garbage; while I try not to go through life tsk-tsking others, I don't understand why so many businesses insist, in these ecologically-minded times, on making sure that everything you order from them comes with a bit of garbage attached, when often it is quite needless). She responded with something like irritated indifference, which she explained by saying, "we're really busy right now."

I doubt I would have found this phrase objectionable had there been a single other customer seated in the whole cafe. In fact, in the ten minutes where I sat, stewing and chewing, two or three people came in for coffee, but not a single other customer ordered food or took a seat. Busy indeed! Despite angrily giving her a piece of my mind, prior to storming out, post-meal, I actually really, really doubt if she understood why I took offence...

....the heck of it is, I was two hole-punches away from a free chai...


Anonymous said...

Seriously Dude, you should consider anger management. Is there ever really any reason someone should become "righteously steamed at a cafe employee"?

You spent "ten minutes stewing and chewing" because of a plastic fork???? Really!!! C'mon you must be joking. How much do you think she is paid to give a F### about a plastic fork??? Would you give a f### if a cranky Ahole came in and started berating you over a plastic fork? It's clearly not a priority in her world or my world.
It shouldn't be a priority in your world. Let it go. Move on with your life. Find something important to get worked up about.
Good luck with your life.
Have a nice day!

Allan MacInnis said...

Um, you kind of misread the above... I got steamed at this person telling me she was too busy to politely acknowledge me, which would have taken about three seconds, when I was the only customer in the place! Maybe if I weren't working pretty much seven days a week at the moment, it wouldn't have gotten to me, but...