Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Feeling rude on the bus

My Villager bus to Nottingham this morning was half-full when I boarded, which was unusual because it's normally around a third full when I board in the mid/late morning but there were still plenty of seats left. As my bus continued its way through the town, it rapidly filled and before it reached the main stop, it had reached its carrying capacity and the driver had no choice but to drive past people wanting a ride.

I was in an aisle seat from the start and before the bus reached the town's main stop, the man next to me indicated that he wanted to move. I thought he wanted to get off the bus; as such, I moved out of the way and moved into where he was sitting before, as is the standard practice. Unfortunately for me, he wasn't departing: he had moved so others could sit in his place and, by extension, mine.

As such, when I realised this I immediately felt rude and like a douche. While I'm sure the man did not intend to guilt-trip me into moving so others could sit down, his actions had that exact effect and when the main stop arrived, I departed the bus right there and then - even though it was within the same town - rather than face an uncomfortable ride to Nottingham with the feeling of "sitting where I wasn't supposed to and knowing it". I do not know if anyone thought I had been rude but my leaving the bus meant others could sit down, which negated any accidental rudeness on my part, as far as I am concerned.

It could be argued that my leaving was cowardice on my part and that I should have surrendered the seat and stood; however, it could also be argued that I did not violate any rules and that I was fully entitled to move to the window seat after thinking the man wanted to leave. After all, the people who were standing directly next to me, while being significantly older, were not in desperate need of seats and no one else was bothering to give up theirs. At any rate, my leaving freed up space on the bus, so it could also be argued that I was willing to catch a later bus just for someone else's comfort, even if I was pressured into it.

I have offered to give my seat to others before but people rarely accept such offers unless they are truly in need of sitting.

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