Monday, February 13, 2006

Watch Out For the Baybee

My favorite driver was on my bus route this morning. He’s friendly and actually understands the concept of gentle braking instead of roaring up the road and slamming to a halt only when the passengers or an immovable object demands it. It was just after 8:30 and had snowed, so the busses were insanely packed as usual. The bus pulled up to my stop and was already jam packed, but there were maybe 15 people waiting at my stop to get on the bus and we all had places to be. Several other busses had passed by without stopping and people were getting anxious, so we were all bound and determined to get on that bus if at all possible. As the passengers already on the bus were shuffling closer to the back to make room for as many newcomers as possible, a man sitting in a seat near the middle of the bus started yelling “You’re over capacity! Stop letting people get on!” over and over. The bus driver looked back, saw us packed in the aisle—uncomfortably so, but not exactly unusual or especially unsafe—and called back “Get over it, dude” in an amiable manner. Buddy Boy lost it and started yelling about how he’s got a BAY-BEE with him (referring, I suppose, to the toddler sitting on his lap) and he ain’t getting’ over nothin’ because he’s got a BAY-BEE. The surrounding passengers started snickering a little.

The bus driver drove on. And at each subsequent stop, one or two passengers would get off and three or four would get on, and Buddy Boy would bleat anew about his BAY-BEE. Anytime a passenger in the aisle would lurch a little or stand a little close to his seat, he would threaten in his little goat voice to “punch a f*cker” for not “staying clear” of his BAY-BEE. Presently, the passengers in the bus went from mildly amused to really annoyed to vaguely homicidal, and each time Buddy Boy would open his mouth, someone would yell back. The dynamic could have become quite frightening had the ride been a long one, but luckily, we were already at the major university area by this point, and Buddy Boy reached his stop, too. In a parting shot, he stood in the doorway of the bus for maybe a minute or a minute and a half, yelling at the bus driver and admonishing the passengers for “not respecting” his BAY-BEE. Everytime he got to the word “baby”, he voice would take on that bleating goat quality and the volume would increase significantly.

I guess I could have understood if the man had been carrying a very small newborn or if people had been particularly rowdy, but the child was two or three years old and morning commuters, even the ones on a very crowded bus, are really a very subdued crowd. The fuss was really unnecessary. I hate parents with this attitude. Having a baby doesn’t make you special or entitle you to the royal treatment. The world does not have to bend around some arbitrary rule you’ve decided to make. Yes, we should all have extra consideration for the “weaker” members of our society—the very old, the very young, the disabled. That’s why people are supposed to give up their seats at the front of the bus for the elderly or disabled passengers. That’s why we have handicapped parking spots. That’s why there are laws preventing children from engaging in certain activities and imposing especially severe punishments on those who abuse them. I hardly think that being on a crowded bus qualifies as abusing or endangering a child. All that man did was anger a busload of people and show his child that it’s okay to expect the world to cater to your whims.


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