I don’t do buses. I never have. I hate them, but sometimes there is no other option.
My hatred goes beyond the norms of the smelly person, the wont shut up person, the fact that if the temperature is above 10 degrees outside, you sweat your ass off as the sun beams through the glass. I hate buses because I don’t know where to sit.
To the world I look like a healthy, young woman, but I am not and this causes me problems.
I cant even think about climbing the stairs on a bus, so the top deck is straight out of the question, I cant even think about climbing the one or two stairs at the back of the bus, therefore I am left with limited options.. The fold up, cant even call a seat seat. The disabled seats, or the limited “normal” person seat that are always taken up. I would always opt for the “normal” person seat (you know, the seat that are just behind the disabled seats) but these are always taken when I get on! The fold up non seat is a joke and I wouldn’t be able to walk if I sat on one for more than 30 seconds, therefore, I am usually left with the disabled seats.
Now, I don’t have a problem with using these seats, I think I am entitled to sit there. However, on a recent journey, I was thinking about potential conversations that I might have with people regarding me sitting there. I couldn’t think of a way I could answer someone, politely, yet firmly about why I was sitting where I was. Nearing the end of my trip, I came up with “I’m aware these seats are for disabled people, that’s why I am sitting here.” I thought this was a good response and was then kind of eager for someone to confront me and tell me to move. Of course they didn’t, and I haven’t been asked yet. Although I do get funny looks on each bus trip I make, whether I am imagining them or not I am not sure! People cant see my illness and sometimes I don’t take my stick out with me, therefore people probably just think I’m a selfish person for taking up a seat that I “shouldn’t” be in. Little do they know that that bus trip I am making is causing me so much pain and exhaustion. They don’t know that I’ve driven to the bus stop. They don’t know that I’m in constant pain and sitting on those hard seats in the same position is making my pain increase. They don’t know how exhausting it is to do all of this and to cope with all of this.
Another hard part of the bus trip is the getting on and off. Is the driver going to drive off because I am a “healthy young woman” and I’m going to have to bus surf and battle with that as well as battling to walk. Will the driver give me enough time to walk from my seat to the exit? (Sometimes they don’t, and they just go to the next stop – which can be disastrous for me, and I’m already exhausted from the whole trip and my legs don’t want to carry me any further.) This is when having my stick with me comes in useful, because it is something visual for the driver to see to show that I can’t walk well. He will then allow me time to get off, and if he’s feeling nice, he might even lower the step from the bus to the pavement. Also, he will let me get to my seat before tearing off.
Getting a bus seems so simple and easy for so many people, but believe me, for some people out there, getting a bus is one of the hardest things they have to do in a day.
Take care and avoid those buses,