Despite Metro's official "no eating" policy, sneaking a couple of bites of something on the bus is fairly common, and, as far as I'm concerned, fairly innocuous. Maybe I'm just saying this because I happen to have an insatiable sweet tooth and hardly ever leave home without some form of chocolate-flavored treat in my bus chick bag, but I figure, as long as folks aren't leaving trash or crumbs, there's not much harm in a bit of nibbling en route.
But sitting up front and devouring a Styrofoam container of teriyaki like you're at the table? Not OK. I can't speak for other Seattle bus types (other than my husband, that is), but I am not a fan of listening to strangers slurp down their dinners while I travel. And don't even get me started on the smell. Which is why I was particularly appalled when...
On a recent 27 ride, our little bus family had the privilege of witnessing a senior gentleman attacking a bag of grocery-store fried chicken, Bus-Chick-meets-chocolate-ice-cream-style. (We were facing forward, and he was directly in front of us facing sideways, so we had no choice but to watch.) I found the sound (smacking after every bite?) and smell annoying, but, hey, I'm a live-and-let-live kind of bus chick, and I'm hardly one to get judgmental. After all, I've carried a still-warm (but wrapped) fried turkey home on the 3, and tomorrow, Nerd, Chicklet, and I will be transporting four pounds of catfish (yes, from Catfish Corner) and a bag full of cornbread muffins to a party in Bothell. The man wasn't (exactly) hurting anyone, so I gave him a pass. Maybe he was really hungry.
But when he started licking his fingers -- insert KFC joke here -- one at a time, and with relish, his behavior moved from mildly annoying to downright unacceptable. I turned to Bus Nerd.
"If he touches the pole, I'm going to kill myself."
Folks, I should be writing this column from the heavens. The man did, indeed, touch the pole, and many other parts of the bus, including the cord and the fare box. (How often do you think those things get cleaned?). He even left a lovely grease (or was it saliva?) hand print behind as a parting gift.
There is no basketball metaphor that covers a bus foul of this magnitude. Flagrant? Nope. Technical? Uh-uh. We're not even in game-ejection territory. We're talking league suspension, people, Ron Artest-style.