Italians on public transport are so pig ignorant, they make me want to indulge in behaviour that would get Grand Theft Auto banned forever.
The tram that ferries me from my home laptop to my work one, for an hour and a half every day, is an orange metal behemoth with no AC and a few windows that can be greasily opened an inch in the middle of summer. It’s unpleasant. It’s full of sad faces, bulging clammy bodies, beads of desperation glistening on upper lips, making me wish that on public transport we could at least switch off the high definition. It would all be very quaint and bearable in black and white. The body should have this ability, I think. We should be capable of switching to some energy saving profile when we don’t want the stark grim reality in such vivid colour and grit.
See, this is how a computer-engrossed child’s brain turns out later.
The tram is clungy with ancient layers of black oil in parts that squeak anyway. The seats were designed in an age when public transport groping was unheard of- the seats have gaps where your ass goes. The sitter’s ass is completely unprotected from the knees or whatever can be made seem like knees, of the passenger behind. And trust me, even if there’s nothing untoward going down, the sitter behind is wedged solidly between your ass and the knees behind him, because the pre-bus pervert seats are also pre-obesity and pre-modern bone structure. I have long legs (yeah, I did just drop that in there. They’re my best feature, I like to mention them as much as possible. Deal.) and I’m tall for an Italian woman, but I feel sorry for men and the reasonable number of women taller than me. At least men can sit with their legs open, turning the row of seats into a sort of rowing scenario. I imagine trireme seating was about as comfortable as this.
Two rows of single seats, anyway. Each body making uncomfortable icky contact with the ass before and the knees or hands behind it.
The choice before me every morning when I board this relic of Italian engineering, is this:
A) Sit with my knees invading the buttocks in front of me and a handbag or mysterious body part squirming disturbingly from behind.
B) Sit with my knees spread open, flashing crotch to the eyeless bum of the person in front. Encase their sitting form with my legs, like a sexy lower body hug.
C) Sit with my body turned outwards, facing the opposite row of seating, and come into too close contact with the elderly woman holding onto my seat back. The seat backs have handles on them, so if they’re too short to reach the ceiling-poles, this is where they hold on for dear life amidst lurching and screeching of old machinery. And every time the tram moves suddenly, (people, when you see a bus stop looming up ahead, it’s gonna brake suddenly. This is not the time to let go and start rooting in your handbag.) it’s hands across my person, and instead of apologies, the old bitch in question will probably try to engage me in a diatribe against the incompetent driver. Yeah yeah, whatever… Just get your veiny grip off my breasticles.
Sitting sideways also brings the eye-contact issue into play. There is always some greasy epitome of tram passenger manhood in the same stance, grinning at me like by swivelling around I’ve just accepted a drink in some skeezy club. Always bring a book, or be prepared to stare intently at the ads above his head for 45 minutes, all the time aware that his hungry filthy little eye bulbs are fixed on my flash of leg.
I still haven’t come to a satisfactory decision about how to sit, so the same conundrum crops up every time.
And then, there’s the bus. The bus is everything the tram is not. The bus has air conditioning, Italian-level poles for handing onto, seats that are missing only the cup holder to be complete receptacles for obesity. The seats are spacious, plastic, and do not have ass-holes. The seats are in two rows, one of which is double.It’s a pleasure to get the bus, but unfortunately the bus isn’t as frequent as the tram so by leaving late every morning, I’m forced to high tail it to the tram stop.
But here the ignorance of the Italian passenger shows its ugly face.
Italians stampede through the double doors without allowing any walking stick users to disembark. Priority is me, me, me. Chaos and trampling of the small and weak ensues, and seats are lunged for. But they don’t sit in and shimmy to the far side. Oh no. They sit in the outside seats, and do not allow anyone else to take a seat. And the standing masses with their clammy grip on handrails just stand mute and offended, chewing the cud, accepting Madame DuCunt’s claim to the TWO seats like it’s her fucking birthright.
So this is where my rage gets a brief and unsatisfactory outlet. I take the stand, gleeful in my self-righteousness. And you will know my name is…. MoFO, when I lay my vengeance upon thee….
I always approach these seat-hoggers and make the “I want to sit there” motions necessary to make them slide over and let me sit.
And they don’t.
They fix me with mean little eyes and say “Oh… do you want to sit there?” As if by boarding a second before me, they have won the rights to BOTH seats and will now deal out seating priviledges at their discretion.
I give them my steeliest of expressions, and a firm, on the verge of smacking them upside the head, kind of “YES.”
Then what they will do, begrudgingly, is scrunch their knees in towards their chest by a fraction of a centimetre, and imply that I am supposed to climb over them to reach my personal window seat. This aint fucking Ryanair. Move to the window, and I’ll sit down here. No. That won’t do. When I refuse to accept their fucking bounty of leg room to pass, they will sometimes swing the legs outwards so now I can climb over them a little more comfortably. Or else, they will stand up, let me sit in the window, then sit down again.
Ok. So there is a case for this- say you’re getting off at the next stop, then fair enough, get UP properly, allow me room to get in there, and let me sit in the inside, and then sit down. Fair enough. I accept that. But I get the bus from last stop to third from last stop on the whole route, and these people end up having to get up to let me out. So what the fuck? What is so important about sitting on the outside?
And those who won’t budge, really expect me to slide through a millimetre of leg room, those get all the clumsy I can muster. I lurch and swing, elbows akimbo, handbag flying uncontrolled in their face-space. I make it my mission to fuck their shit up in as pointed a way as I can. Get the picture, asshole. There is nothing stopping you from letting me sit the fuck down. And there is nothing stopping me bruising your rude ass as I clamber over you to the seat you have in your wisdom bequeathed upon me.
And for the record, this is not me ranting angrily about a small selection of aisle enthusiasts I have met on my infrequent bus trips.
This is EVERY FUCKING ITALIAN. Ok, not every Italian does this. But I’m not exaggerating when I say, ignorami are the majority. Like 80% of my bus trips involve this stupid stand off between me and some leg-scrunching bitchatron who thinks she gets to choose the fucking seat.
Oh that felt good.