I wish I had a really cool excuse to explain my lack of a Friday blog post last week. Like I was too busy rescuing a baby from a burning runaway stagecoach or that I was preoccupied with answering the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything (42, anybody?).
But, mostly, I just spent the whole day anxiously trying to decide what to write about and ended up watching Nashville instead of confronting my problems. (I am adult.)
So, now, as we return from that unscheduled break in regular programming, please turn your attention to what was supposed to be my Friday blog post:
Welcome to Real Girl’s Life Guide for the Socially Inept, a manual designed to assist you in your journey through the treacherous lands of day-to-day social interaction.
Today’s topic is Public Transportation, in which Real Girl discusses those wheel-bound tubes of social peril (commonly known as buses) guaranteed to lead to some kind of discomfort 95% of the time.
This portion of the Real Girl’s Life Guide comes to you in five parts:
- PEC (Prolonged Eye Contact)
- Accidental Boob Grazes
- Why is that Person Drooling on my Shoulder?
- Convincingly Pretending Not to Listen
- See Something, Say Something
You’re on the bus. You’re settled in your seat (or you’re desperately clinging to a pole). And you are in danger.
I don’t mean physical danger.
No. I’m talking about something much more severe in the world of the Socially Inept. I’m talking about eye contact.
The public bus is a High Level Danger Zone for Unwanted Social Interaction, and with one misplaced bout of PEC you’re going to be talking to Sue-Anne about her various political opinions (I’m talking abortion, gay marriage, racism, etc) for the entirety of your bus ride.
Nobody wants that. (Except maybe Sue-Anne).
So, you have three options:
a) Look at the ceiling.
b) Look at the floor.
c) Close your eyes.
If, in the course of transitioning between these three options, you accidentally engage in PEC, disengage immediately by:
a) Feigning sleep (or, in more serious cases, death).
b) Exiting the bus (ideally through the door, but a window will do as well).
c) Smiling and hoping that the recipient of the PEC does not have strong views about abortion.
2) Accidental Boob Grazes
Listen. We can’t exactly retract the ladies into our chests like some kind of boob telescope every time that we get onto a crowded bus. So, sometimes, accidental boob grazes happen (and accidental hand grazes, and butt grazes, etc.).*
If this should occur:
a) Reposition yourself so that your boob/butt/hand is no longer connected to another human being.
b) Smile apologetically (especially if your entire left buttcheek connects with face of senior citizen next to you as you gracelessly try to get off the bus)
c) Never speak of it again. Ever.
d) Only relive the moment once a year over a bottle of wine.
a) Become so paralyzed by embarrassment/despair that you are unable to remove your boob from the accidental graze position
b) Try to open the emergency exit window. This is not the kind of emergency that they’re talking about.
* Non-accidental grazes can happen, too. But, don’t be that person.
3) Why is that Person Drooling on My Shoulder?
Okay. You’re sitting on the bus. You’ve managed to avoid grazing anybody with your boob and you have found the perfect spot on the ceiling to look so that nobody mistakes your prolonged eye contact for an invitation to start talking to you. And that’s when it happens. A weight on your shoulder. Light, at first. Then, retreating.
You look over at the person sitting beside you. They’re blinking rapidly, rubbing their eyes. Their cheeks are a little red. They shift in their seat, sitting up and staring straight ahead.
Maybe it’s over, you think. Maybe they’re okay, now.
But, it’s not over.
Eventually, their head starts to droop. Their chin dips toward their chest. The bus lurches forward, and their head lolls to the side, seeking the closest available thing to a pillow.
And, guess what? It’s your shoulder.
There is a stranger sleeping on you. This is a Code 5 Red Alert for Unwanted Social Interaction.
a) Produce a Pterodactyl shriek and shake the person off your shoulder.
b) Lean your head onto their head and fall asleep, too. That’s weird.
You can respond in one of two ways:
a) Gently touch their shoulder and let them know that you’re uncomfortable.
b) Let them sleep on you. (But, if they start to drool, it’s game over and you’re allowed to Pterodactyl shriek).
3. Convincingly Pretending Not to Listen
From the senior citizen loudly discussing her sexual exploits behind you, to the angry man airing his outdated political views to the driver, to the student talking about what he’s going to buy his mom for Christmas over the phone (‘I don’t know…socks, maybe?’), the bus is full of storytellers. And, we, their fellow passengers, are the enraptured audience.
However, no matter how loudly the senior citizen is reminiscing about her favourite lover in the seat behind you, you cannot seem like you are listening to her. You must be discreet.
a) Feign sleep (with convincing snores/snuffles, if the speaker grows suspicious)
b) Pretend to read (although, make certain that you are flipping the pages of your book in a convincing manner, so as not to draw attention to yourself).
a) Involve yourself in the conversation.
Steve: Bob, my girlfriend has been giving me a hard time lately. Yesterday, she told me I smelled like a camel barn.
Bob: Wow, Steve. That sucks…and it’s totally not true…
You: (who has been breathing through your mouth for the entire bus ride due to the extreme camel smell around you) Why are you lying to him, Bob? WHY ARE YOU LYING??
However, there are possible exceptions to this rule.
Steve: Gee, I’m having a really hard time finding a left-handed seamstress specializing in wiener dog costumes.
You (the most gifted left-handed wiener dog costume seamstress in your city): I may be able to help you with that.
5) See Something, Say Something
And what, my dear friends, are you to do if any of the passengers around you partake in one of the socially inept actions described above?
Kindly refer them to this helpful guide, of course.
*My usual Monday blog post about Crohn’s will come to you tomorrow. And then we will be back to our regular schedule of Monday/Friday blog posts (UNLESS MY NETFLIX ACCOUNT SUCKS ME INTO MY TV LIKE THAT SCENE IN CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY AND REFUSES TO RELEASE ME (an entirely possible scenario, I think).