Up close and personal with… that woman
When I started using public transport on my own about five years ago (digs at my age are not expected or accepted here), I was scared out of my mind. All of a sudden, random men between my house and the stage and in the javs started noticing me and calling me those names that shouldn’t even have been associated with me, the flat-chested, small-boned, hips-less, awkward, just-turned-teenager. Now, though I’m not so flat-chested and I have a hint of hips (I would like to believe, bubble-bursting is not expected or accepted here) and am not so awkward, I still feel uber-uncomfortable being on the receiving end. I also learned, very quickly and unpleasantly, that personal space is an “I wish”. I also learned never to sit next to the man with a paper bag full of medicines that can fix all your problems from pimples to elephantiasis to arrhythmia for just a promotional price of 100 bob.
Nevertheless, I managed to cope. These days, I look at all the idiotic loudmouths like I don’t understand a word of Swahili and they leave me alone. I try to sit where the fewest people are but I’ve accepted that’s not always an option. And I try to avoid people with paper bags.
Today, though, I was… stunned? I’d just gotten to town and I happily strolled to my next stage because it was such a beautiful day and I like to stroll happily on beautiful days, knowing that it may take a while for any bus I got into to leave town because it had to fill up. The fates smiled big, braces-less smiles upon me though, and I found a Hoppa that was mostly full. On I got, in my little bubble of happiness that I wouldn’t age significantly waiting to leave town and I headed for the back bench which was mostly empty, except for this woman at one end with a ginormous paper bag. Ignoring the paper bag (and silently praying she was a mama mboga or something), I sat.
You’ll kinda have to open the picture to see because evidently, my skills do not extend beyond my fantastic art.
Anyslut, there I am sitting in my happy bubble, not sitting at the window as I would usually do because of the sun (see the sun?), minding my own business, waiting patiently for the bus to leave…
Until she decides she doesn’t want to sit there anymore. Which is all well and good… or not. She actually looked like she was going to get off, gathering her paper bag and all but instead, she switches places with the damn thing and plonks herself right on my lap, almost, popping my happy bubble with all her invasion. And she looks straight ahead like this is a perfectly natural thing to do!
And her bag of beetroots gets half the bench. I kid you not, it was crazy huge.
Okay, so politely, I start to inch away, towards the dreaded sun, trying to utilise the space she seemingly failed to comprehend and she interprets this as license to make as much use of this new space as possible. She moves. Again!
I couldn’t even choke out the words to get her to move. I was just so traumatised. Galleria could not appear soon enough. And I got off the bus before her.
And I have decided that for today, and possibly the rest of the week, this is why we are still a third-world country.