My official start time for work is 9am. However, I usually arrive late, somewhere between 910am-915am, and stay a bit later to fulfill my 7.75 hours. You may think this is the result of sloppy work ethic, but it’s not (though there’s room for improvement). I deliberately come in a bit later to avoid the morning rush hour crowd. That way, I can start work in a relatively good frame of mind. Although I am not completely at peace with being regularly tardy, there have been no slaps on the wrist yet. Could probably escape the height of the rush hour crowd if I started at 8am instead, but I haven’t been willing to change my sleeping patterns to get up a whole hour earlier. So I’ll continue on in this vein until I get my act together or get reprimanded.

Sometimes, due to meetings or training (like today) or a need to finish early, I have to get to work before 9am. So I left my apartment at 820am to comfortably catch the 827am bus that takes me to the Skytrain station.

As expected, the bus was filled mostly with students attending the high school nearby. There were a lot of people who had to get on at my stop, but there was also a lot of room towards the back of the bus. As typically the case, the people in the middle (usually adults) didn’t budge. They are either 1) afraid of standing among teenagers and/or 2) determined to have their own personal pole to cling to or hover around.

So I did what I now always do when rush hour commuters are uncooperative and oblivious to others needing to get on the bus: I pushed my way through all the way to the back, repeatedly saying “excuse me” until I could go no further. Though generally an unobtrusive person in public, I DON’T CARE (well, maybe a little bit) if I force people against their personalized poles, or happen to knock off knapsacks (which commuters should remove off their backs and tuck in between the legs, as per Translink etiquette).

Often, I get dirty looks from people jostled from their place of comfort, but I simply DON’T CARE (ok, maybe a little). If these people aren’t willing to inconvenience themselves by opting to move their own bodies, then I figure it’s fair (and necessary) that they become inconvenienced by people (like myself) trying to make room for others coming aboard behind me. It’s public transit after all.

It’s the same situation on the Skytrain, maybe a bit worse because people are made even MORE oblivious by those awful freebie newspapers (don’t get me started on these publications). People are so intent on occupying their minds enroute to work or school that they hardly ever look up to check their surroundings. Sometimes, people will lean against the pole so they can retain two free hands to flip the pages. This posture, of course, reduces surface area on the poles for people to hang on to.

If I see standing room on the ends of the train, I will channel all the diaphragmatic energy I can muster and loudly call out, “Please move down to the sides so we can get on.” Of course, they don’t (probably not impressed by the hint of irritation and contempt in my voice, which I should work on), so I push my way firmly through here too, receiving more dirty looks. Sometimes, I can shake these off; more often, (because I’m enslaved to being perceived of as ‘nice’) I resent being in the position to choose rubbing (literally) people the wrong way for the common good. So by the time I get to work, I’m feeling quite frustrated and demoralized.

It appears then, that for now, I’m am more willing to tolerate the anxiety of being late over that of playing the transit etiquette cop. I’m just not that evolved as a person to get to bed earlier AND be invulnerable to people’s opinions of me.

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