Kim Nelson: An Open Letter to the People Blocking the Door on the Irving Park Bus

Dear Man in Cubs Hat, Cluster of High School Kids Wearing Obtrusive Backpacks, and Woman in $100 Workout Pants Pushing Her Yoga Mat in a Double-wide Stroller:

I know that none of us particularly enjoy starting our day with a ride on the #80 Irving Park bus. However, you seem to be ignorant of the fact that you are making it especially difficult for me and other new riders to board by hunkering down in your current position blocking the aisle. What is everyone’s problem with the raised level past the second door–is it haunted? That area remains as free and spacious as the Great Plains depicted in those “Visit Montana” ads plastered above our heads, and yet here you stand, clutching to the pole like a desperate Demi Moore.

Instead of clumping up in the front like earbud-wearing sheep, if one of you could make the bold leap of MOVING TO THE BACK OF THE GODDAMN BUS, we might all actually get somewhere on time. Instead, the bus driver stalls and drones in a bored voice “Move to the back, people,” before giving up and pulling away from the curb in defeat. If I actually am able to wedge my body onto the bus before the doors close in my face, I exclaim aloud in a huffy voice “I’LL move back” and elbow my way through the crowd like some sort of deranged bus activist, a Rosa Parks in reverse. Someone’s gotta be the hero.

I get the impression that people don’t like to move all the way to the back because they think they’ll get stuck there. To those people: can I point out the cranky-looking man or woman dressed in navy blue sitting behind a great big wheel? They’re called the Bus Driver. And guess what? They have the gift of the sense of hearing! Crazy, right? If you say out loud “Coming through, please hold the door,” the bus driver will hear you. I know this is radical stuff here. See how just a few tips– let’s call them, I don’t know, common sense–can prevent the soul-crushing experience of seeing your bus fly by without stopping to pick you up, packed to the gills up front but empty in the back? Somewhere, Sir Mix-a-lot weeps.

And back to you Jansport-toting high school students–I’m sure that text that you just received is earth-shattering, but as you lunge through my personal space to show it to you friend, please be aware of the 30-lb. boulder strapped to your back. You just smacked me in the cheek with your side pocket so intricately decorated with the words “Belieber” painted in white-out.

While I’ve got your last shreds of attention, can we also agree as fellow members of the human race to NOT clip your nails on public transit, leave your empty Red Bull cans on the seats, or urge female riders forward by placing your palms on their buttocks and saying “beep beep”? (Yes, this happened.) Let’s try to not be savages; we all just want to get to work on time.

Many thanks,
Your Fellow Commuter

-Kim Nelson


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