The worst cough I’ve ever heard

So Translink upset me today. What else is new? I missed three buses due to a stop being rerouted. And then there were like ten transit cops at the sky train station checking fares. Cause you know, that’s completely necessary. Not to mention there’s track maintenance tonight so trains are delayed. And then there’s those annoying people sitting in the aisle seats when the window seat is empty, not leaving room for people to sit. I went and asked a guy if I could sit there and he moved for me. But really, I shouldn’t have to ask.

Now that I’ve said my piece about that, I can get to the real issue at hand. There’s this guy on the Canada Line right now who has the worst cough I’ve ever heard. And I’ve heard some bad ones, let me tell you. I’m actually scared. He sounds like he might cough up a lung. Or worse. I’m not sure what would be worse than coughing up a lung. I don’t really want to think about it. I’m guessing it’s smoker’s cough, but I mean it must be more than that. I’ve never heard a cough before that made me afraid for my own safety.

I can’t describe in words what it sounds like. Even if you could hear me, I wouldn’t be able to properly emulate it. I would say it sounds like a dog barking, but then that would be an insult to dogs and their barking. What I wouldn’t give to hear dogs barking right now instead. It’s just this nasty, loud, throat clearing, hacking sound. Sort of cavemanish. Like grunting almost. Sometimes it’ll stop for a moment but then I’ll hear him again. I’m scared to look over at him. I’m just grateful that he’s not sitting beside me. And I really hope that whatever problem he has clears up soon. And that it’s not contagious, since the Canada Line is a rather confined space.

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That one good morning

So I’m constantly complaining about Translink. And rightly so. The other day two of my buses didn’t come and they assured me that the one I asked about was running on time and was right where it was supposed to be. I informed them that it never came to my stop but they just continually said there had been no reports. Then they finally said that it had been running late and had skipped my stop to compensate.

I constantly deal with these types of problems, as well as the crowds of people that surround and annoy me during my commutes. Like the throat clearer this morning who would alternate between the throat clearing and deep breathing for no apparent reason. And the even worse guy standing between us who made noises with his mouth as if he was chewing when really he wasn’t. I don’t know how to describe the sound in words, other than that it was annoying and unnecessary.

But yesterday was a good morning. A key part of it anyway. The part when I was on the 43 bus. Why? Because not only was the bus on time, but it was almost completely empty. There were maybe five other people on it. But they sat away from me. I had pretty much the whole back of the bus to myself. It was so nice and spacious. Not that I made use of the space or anything, I only took up one seat. But it was nice to be able to look up and not have to bear witness to any annoying habits that I otherwise would have.

It was odd. It was like a miracle. I began to wonder why it was so empty. I almost felt like tweeting translink to ask them why my bus was empty and what they did with the people. Were they gone for my benefit? I remember this Twilight Zone episode where for some reason this kid has power over this small town and when people think bad thoughts about him he can wish them away. At one point he complains to his dad that there aren’t any other children there for him to play with and his dad explains to him that it’s because he had wished all the other children away. He was an annoying kid. But yeah, maybe I had somehow subconsciously wished away the annoying people on the bus, before the bus even arrived at my stop. Although why I’d want to compare myself to an evil and disturbed little kid, I don’t know.

But clearly that wasn’t the case. Because I’m on the bus this morning and there are people on it. Unless they’re still gone and now I’m just hallucinating. Maybe I’m not even on a bus right now? Am I dreaming? Whatever the case, it’s not so bad. The bus isn’t completely full and the people on this bus are far less annoying than the ones on the Canada Line. If only I could have wished away some of those people. Particularly the throat clearer and the fake chewer. But alas this is real life and not the Twilight Zone. But still, a girl can dream.

My favourite kind of old person

Sometimes I complain about old people. When they shove me, or walk too slowly right in front of me. But I don’t generalize. They’re not all bad. Just a few that give the rest a bad name. But there are some old people who I admire.

This one time I was on the Canada Line and this old man was standing. Sometimes people who are neither old nor handicapped will sit in the priority seating seats when there are others around who need them more. That pisses me off. But the girl did offer her seat to the old man. But he turned it down and continued to stand. That’s my favourite kind of old person, one who doesn’t let age slow him down. I had to stand that day too, and I liked that we could both stand together in solidarity. If he was happy to stand without complaining, then so was I.

This morning, I had to stand again, as I often do. This time, an old woman got on at the next stop. She was also offered a seat. Actually I think someone might have told the person in the seat they should offer her their seat. The person in the priority seating area is often oblivious. But the old woman refused the seat as well and continued to stand. I like when that happens. She was also very good at standing. I mean, she was standing near me, but didn’t crowd or have an annoying habit as most people who stand near me often do. I greatly appreciated this. I also liked her shoes. They weren’t your typical old lady walking shoes. Needless to say, she’s my new idol. That’s the kind of old person that I want to be, if I ever make it to that age.

I witnessed a theft

So I’m on the Canada Line, frustrated because my bus was cancelled this morning and I had to wait longer. While waiting at the bus stop, I began to eat my lumberjack sandwich from Safeway. Not the whole thing, just part of it. I did get a seat on the bus and the train, so it’s not so bad.

As I’m sitting on the train, everyone seems to be minding their own business. There are people standing, but it’s not too crowded. There is lots of empty standing room, at least at the first few stops. This young Asian guy who I didn’t really get a good look at was standing by the seats. When the train stopped at Aberdeen, he suddenly froze, crouched down and grabbed the bag that was next to the seats, and ran off the train. The doors nearly closed on him, but he made it.

I looked at the lady who was sitting closest to the bag, but she didn’t seem phased. Then the guy in front of her turned and looked at the floor where the bag once was. It had been his. He looked down and then up and asked “Did he just steal my bag?” And I told him yeah. No one else seemed bothered by it. I’m sure a lot of them didn’t even realize it happened. The guy told me there was nothing in it. Alright, so he made off with an empty bag? I guess that’s not as bad as it could have been. But then he said there were some books and stuff in it. Okay, that’s worse. I wondered why he wasn’t angrier. I think maybe he was in shock.

“Does this happen often?” He asked me. I told him no. I mean maybe it does, but I’d never seen it happen before. And I’d like to think I’m not as ignorant as most people. I told him he should report it, but he said that he didn’t think reporting it would help. He did get off at the next station though. Not sure what he planned on doing. Meanwhile, everyone else continued about their business.

I’m annoyed that no one seems to know what to do in that situation. Or I guess it’s just that no one really cares. If only there had been someone by the doors who could have apprehended the guy. Instead of the obsession with police checking fares all the time, maybe they should be concerned about issues of theft as well. I mean I know not paying your fare is considered theft, but you know what I mean. If the train had been more crowded, he may not have been able to run off like that. Although maybe if it were more crowded, he wouldn’t have had to run, and could have snuck through the crowds. Maybe this does happen often? There’s always those signs about pick pocketers, but no one ever expects their entire bag to be made off with.

I’m just glad that I always, well usually, have my bag(s) on my lap. Where I can see them. And hold them. A person would need to pry them out of my hands before making off with them. This is also a good reason never to sleep on public transit, no matter how tired you are. You don’t want to risk it. I know it’s cynical, but you can’t just blindly trust the people around you. Some places have signs that say “Thieves work here”. I think public transit needs “Thieves ride this train/bus” signs. Not that it would really help. But you know. It might just warn a few people at the very least.

I don’t know what happened to that guy, if he got help or anything. It was a black bag, briefcase looking I think. It all happened so fast so I’m really not sure. Maybe karma’s a bitch and the young guy tripped as he ran out of the station? Except no one was chasing him and no one outside of the train would have known that he had stolen it. The guy who’s bag it was seemed pretty calm, albeit shocked. If it had been my bag, I’d be freaking out. Now I’m paranoid. Beware of bag thieves. And thieves in general. It’s unfortunate, but they may be riding your train or bus right now.

Commuting, decision making, shoes sales, & babies

I had to run across the street this morning to make it to the bus. Well I didn’t have to. I could’ve just missed it. But that would have screwed up the rest of my commute. A small price to pay, I suppose. Although I was kind of out of breath after. But I did not pant and breathe heavily as others often do. Why am I so out of shape? Maybe I need to start going to the gym again. Or just continue to run for buses. I’m guessing they both have the same sort of effect.

It’s a nice day today. Finally, no need for a jacket. I would really love to wear sandals, but am unable to because of work. I was going to bring a pair of flip flops with me, as I may go to a shoe sale later. But of course I forgot. Oh well. I think Resa, author of the blog Queen’s End, would appreciate a picture of the shoes I am currently wearing.  Nothing fancy, but they’re comfortable and they’re hi-tops.  Although you can’t tell, as my pant legs are covering them.

I have a dilemma. Well, a first world problems dilemma. There’s an Orb clothing sale today. And there’s a designer shoe sale today. I cannot attend both, as I will be at work and will barely have enough time to stop by one. They’re both in different places in Richmond, neither one more convenient than the other. How do I decide? I know I have already attended both an Orb sale and a shoe sale within the past couple months. And so you’d probably tell me not to attend either and to exercise some self control for once. But I feel as though it’s expected of me to go. And to follow it up with a blog post filled with a confusing mix of awesomeness, excitement, and regret.

I feel like a few people were staring at me on the Canada Line. This one older lady in particular. Perhaps because of my shirt. It’s the one that says “Keep Calm and Buy Shoes” in big letters across it. I think perhaps by deciding to wear this shirt, I kind of made my decision as to which sale I’ll be attending. Or maybe not. The other day I wore my “Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake” shirt and I did not in fact eat a cupcake that day. Misleading, I know.

Oh God, the guy across from me just sneezed really loudly & disgustingly. That was out of the blue and completely uncalled for. He’s also like flapping his legs. I can’t really explain it. But he’s sitting with his legs wide apart and then moving them in and out. And it resembles wings flapping. Why is he doing that? What purpose could it possibly serve? Is this some sort of weird exercise I don’t know about? That helps with…something? Now he’s tapping each foot, one after the other, neither one at the same time. I guess he’s just sort of restless? Either way, it’s annoying.

On the Canada Line earlier, I decided to do something I’d never done before. Okay, not true. Something I rarely do, especially in the mornings. I walked to the back of the train. Not the very back, but in that area. Because I thought maybe there were seats there. But I was sadly mistaken. There was however, more standing room. I normall like to be at the very front, or wherever’s closest to the escalator so I can get the hell out of the station as fast as possible. But I had enough time this morning that it didn’t really matter.

One stop before my stop, a woman with a baby carriage got on and stood next to me. Or a stroller I guess. Does anyone call them baby carriages anymore? Is there a difference? Anyway, I’m not a baby person. Like, if you think I’m awkward around adults, it’s way worse with babies. I don’t know what to say or what to do or how to act. Sometimes I think I’m dead inside, cause when someone brings a baby somewhere, everyone else will crowd around & be all like “Hi!” “Oh my God you’re so cute!” and various random baby talk things. And I’ll just sort of be there.

Today, as this baby was looking around, it looked at me. And I looked back. I didn’t say anything. What am I supposed to say? It’s a baby. I didn’t make a funny face or sound or anything. But I decided I would smile at him and see what happens. And lo and behold it, he actually smiled back. Who would have thought? Naturally, I just expected that he would continue to stare, look confused, and then lose interest. But he smiled at me a few times and seemed to be enjoying himself. Perhaps I’m not completely dead inside after all? Or maybe he just thought I looked funny?

I think being the oldest of five kids has generally make me dislike kids. But the smile of that baby may have restored my faith for a moment. But then I went down the stairs and saw the entire station pretty much was filled with parents and small yelling children. And that just totally brought me back to reality. No idea why they were there or where they were going. And I don’t care. Not my problem. Thank God.

So that was my morning. And my thought process during it. Parts of it anyway. I think the baby smiling at me contributed to me being in a slightly better mood than normal. But you know, it was countered by all the annoying people I encountered afterwards. But it’s okay, because shopping tonight may just lift my spirits once again.

The guy beside me

I’m on the canada line. Yes, what else is new. It is where I spend most of my life. This guy got on, and there were other seats available closer to him, but he passed by them and chose the one next to me instead. Which is fine, I know that having an empty seat beside me is a rare and fleeting moment that will not last. Things were going fine, he reached down and fumbled through his backpack for a bit. And then he took out an apple. And had the audacity to eat it.

Okay, so a normal person would not be bothered by this. But it irks me so much when people eat apples in public. It’s just the way they crunch it. It’s one of the loudest foods you can eat. And the crunching doesn’t stop until they’re down to the core. Really it shouldn’t annoy me, I eat in public all the time. But not apples. Maybe it’s partly due to the fact that I don’t like skin on apples. I’d rather eat it in slices, with the skin peeled off. But to each their own I guess. Maybe I’m the weird one.

He finished that apple rather quickly though. Which I appreciated. There’s nothing worse than a prolonged period of crunching. And then he put the core into a little plastic bag so he could dispose of it later. At least he cared enough to do that. Maybe he wasn’t just an apple crunching douchebag.

Then he fumbled through his backpack some more, and pulled out some papers. They looked like some sort of court documents. Was he in trouble with the law? Should I be afraid? Or maybe he’s a law student reviewing a case? But they looked pretty legit. Not that I would know. But either way, it intrigued me. Not because he might be a criminal. And not because he might be a lawyer. It’s just that there was more to him than crunching apples.

My stop came up, and I had to get off the train, leaving him behind. Which is a shame, because I feel like if I had stayed, he would have pulled something else out of that backpack that may have been even more interesting. I guess I’ll never know.

Just another morning

When I get on the bus, I always hope that no one will sit beside me. At least not for a while. I know that eventually it will fill up and inevitably happen. As luck would have it, the guy who sat beside me kind of took up more than his own seat. How pleasant. At least the first bus isn’t too long of a ride. Usually. As my eyes wandered as I sat there, I made the mistake of looking directly into this old man’s ear, which had ear hair in it. That’s something that I cannot unsee. This woman across from me was reading The Hunger Games. Which reminds me I need to blog about that. The movie, not the book. I haven’t read the book. I suppose I will. Eventually. Though not on the bus. I reserve that time for blogging.

Luckily, the Canada Line didn’t drive away right as my bus stopped at the station. With a minute left, I was able to make it, despite the metro & 24 hours news guys in my way. I walked by this guy with paint on his shirt who tried to whistle, but sort of failed as it didn’t come out right. There was a group of kids at the station. But the teacher or leader or whoever had the good sense not to try and cram them on this train and told them they would wait for the next one. Thank God for that. And good luck to the people on the next train.

They really should have a tissue dispenser and a hand sanitizer dispenser on all forms of public transit. Like you get it complimentary with your fare. It’s the least they could do. But even if they did, I bet the people who really need it wouldn’t even use it. Like the woman standing beside me who keeps wiping her nose on her hand. They should also have a vending machine with breath mints, mouth wash, and deodorant. I wouldn’t mind if they charged a fee for those. I’m sure people desperate enough would buy it. They could really make a lot.

It wasn’t really raining it Richmond. Spitting at most. But of course when I got out of the station at Oakridge, it was pouring. And I’m wearing suede shoes. Because I’m that smart. I wasn’t going to, but I couldn’t wear the shoes I wanted because I didn’t have the right socks, and then I wasted time looking but to no avail. And ran out of time and didn’t get the chance to grab breakfast, so I’ve already eaten part of my lunch. I also didn’t have time to fix my hair, so it looks worse than usual right now, especially with the rain.

Suede skate shoes

As I crossed the street, there was an old couple right in front of me, walking very slowly. He had a walker and she was beside him, trying to hold an umbrella over both their heads. It was kind of sweet actually. But for a moment I felt like we were going to die because we wouldn’t make it across the street in time. I stupidly missed not one, but two 41 buses. Well not so much missed as didn’t get on. Because I went to the 43 stop. Where there is no shelter from the rain. But it’s the faster bus. Although I doubt if it will actually catch up to the 41s at this rate. But oh well. I’m safe and dry on it now and there is no one sitting beside me. Life is good.