Being on the East Coast has afforded me to the pleasure of having multiple metropolitan areas close to me. Being a college student has limited my methods of transportation. A plane ticket is expensive and a car is out of the question — I’ve discovered the joys of the charter bus. At about $20 from DC to New York, it’s much cheaper than any other mode of transport and quite convenient given the amenities considered a standard now, including free Wi-fi and electrical outlets.
I think it’s pretty understandable that comfort includes having a whole row (two seats) to yourself. The last round trip I took, I was lucky enough to be on emptier buses with less people — most everyone got their own row. Call me selfish, but the last thing I want to do is sit next to a stranger for four hours when I could just as easily have two seats to myself (as I would be able to evidently conclude later, it’s hard to manage all my chargers, wires, electronics when I’m pulling them out from the cramped foot space).
Which brings me to my main point — I have come to the realization that I am probably candidate #1 when it comes to choosing which person to sit next to. All those stragglers who came at departure time when we were supposed to arrive 15 minutes early — they’re looking for me when they walk onto the bus and realize that since they’re LATE, they won’t be getting their own seat. It’s a horrible stereotype, really.
Stereotypes are shortcuts in the cognitive process. They’re unnecessary, but convenient.
When you see me, the smallish Asian girl on the bus, quietly texting on my phone, taking up my seat and my seat only. You think that I won’t be talking loudly on the phone (Middle Eastern people do that, right?). I won’t be pulling out stinky food (White people do that, right?). I won’t disregard you in general (Black people do that, right?). Out of the younger crowd, the Asian is also desirable. White girls have a propensity to feel entitled and rude. Same with black girls and Latinas, but oh shit, in a worse way! No…sit next to the Asian girl whose clothes look laundered and doesn’t seem like she’d be much trouble.
I’ve made all the above generalizations that people, including myself, may be inclined to think.
So being the bitch I am, I usually place my bag on the seat next to me and scowl before departure. No one will want to sit next to the person in the horrible mood, right? I did this as the bus filled up, as every person’s solidarity was ruined with the late scragglers, until I was the only person left with a row to myself…
…Until a Megabus worker came and yelled at me, screaming that I hadn’t paid for that seat and therefore my bag should not be on there. He then proceeded to walk away, obviously pissed as tits, threatening that anyone else who did what I did would be kicked off the bus.
Remembering this incident actually makes me very angry. My Asian girl tendencies had kicked in and I had quietly apologized and dutifully removed my bag when this guy was downright disrespectful towards me. I should’ve given his sorry attitude right back.
I live a life full of regrets.