Commuting Struggles Of The Socially Anxious Introvert: Part Two

UTM Busses
Image: Michael W., The TTC Page

In part one of this series , we had a look at just a few of the struggles socially awkward introverts face when commuting. If you haven’t read that yet, make sure you check it out first. Here’s Part Two.

4) The Doors

You’re sitting in the bus and your stop is coming up. You have a choice. Do you get off using the back doors? Or do you get off using the front doors? Don’t be too quick to choose. Each door comes with its own set of problems.

The Back Doors

You think these are the best doors, right? Just get up, push on the door, and you’re out. Well what if the doors don’t open? I’ve had that happen to me. There’s nothing worse than pushing your hardest on the doors, only for them to remain shut. You have to do the walk of shame all the way to the front of the bus, with your head bowed, mumbling a quick “Thank you” to the driver before leaving.

14 - 1
Image: Giphy

And as you walk from the back of the bus, everyone stares at you. You can feel their eyes on the back of your head. It’s even worse when there are other people right behind you, wanting to get off as well. They’re probably thinking that you’re too weak to push open the doors.

As you walk to the front, you look back and there will always be someone else trying to push the door open, just to prove that it was you who couldn’t open the doors, not some problem with the doors themselves. It’s like you’re some moron who was pushing a door that says pull.

Now you’re thinking the back doors were a bad idea, right?

The Front Doors

You’re right. The front doors are the better choice. The only problem is that if you’re sitting at the back of the bus, you need to walk all the way to the front. And there are usually people standing there, so you can’t really ask them to move out of the way. Especially if the back door is not blocked.

Everyone stares at you when you walk to the front of the bus. And whenever you get up, anyone who gets off at the same stop will follow you. Literally, the instant you stand up, there will be 4 – 5 people right behind you. They just appear. And they stand too close.

Honestly, if I could walk out like The Joker and not feel incredibly self-conscious, I would do it every time.

Easily The Best Way To Get Off The Bus (Image: Prusianazorro)

Another issue is that you are supposed to use the front doors only when you’re sitting in the front half of the bus. The front doors are for the wheelchairs, or pushchairs, or elderly folk. If you use them, you block the only way to get on the bus. If the back doors aren’t blocked, why would you go through the front doors, people wonder. Because you’re some jerk who hates boarding passengers and old people, that’s why.

And you know what the problem is if you do decide to sit near the front? Old people glare at you. Obese people glare at you. The people in the posters glare at you. Babies in pushchairs stop crying and glare at you with cold, empty, unblinking eyes.

It doesn’t matter if the entire bus is empty. Sometimes even the driver will be glaring at you because “the front seats are reserved for elderly people, young man”.

Regardless, it’s better than the back doors. So the front doors your best option, aye?

Image: DiscoPosse

Wait It Out

There’s a third option. An option I didn’t tell you about. I just gave you a false dilemma.

BOOM! You’ve just been philosophised!

(Is it still a False Dilemma if I give you the third option? I’ve no idea. Let’s just say it is. I don’t get many chances to tell someone they’ve been philosophised)

There is always another choice. You just wait it out. Chances are, there will be someone else who needs to get off at the same stop. You just wait for them to pull the stop cable and then watch as they make their way towards the door.

It doesn’t matter which door they choose. What matters is that they are the one making the choice. You don’t have to worry about the pressure. You’re free. You’re unburdened. And it feels great.

You Have Chosen Wisely
Image: Imgur

They walk towards whatever door they choose, and you just follow them and get off. If you always do this, congratulations. You have chosen wisely.

5) Wrong Stop

Have you ever pulled the stop cable, felt completely confident, and then realised that you pulled the cable too early? All that confidence drains out of you. You feel your face go red. You feel everyone’s eyes on you. So you go over your options. And you only have 3. No False Dilemma at play here.

Option 1

You know what this option is. Ask yourself one question: Will you walk up to the driver and quietly tell him that you pulled the cable by mistake?

Image: Photobucket

Option 2

Didn’t think so. The next option is to hope and pray that someone else wants to get off at the same stop. They’ll get off and you can safely remain seated.You just have to do one thing: Scope out the bus.

Look for people who are looking attentively out of the window. Not the window-gazers with their glossy eyes and expressionless faces. You’re looking for people who are looking anxious. People who are fidgeting. People who are grabbing their bags in anticipation of the stop. People who are checking their pockets to make sure they haven’t forgotten anything on the bus. People who are looking at the driver.

They Look Something Like This
They’ll Look Something Like This (Image: Angela’s Anxious Life)

Use your superpower of peripheral vision to help you. If you find no sign of anyone else wanting to get off, you still wait. Some people are brilliant at hiding their true intentions. They will act like they’re not getting off but when the bus stops, they’ll be the first ones at the door.

If the bus stops and no-one gets up within the next 2 seconds, you move on to Option 3.

Option 3

You get off anyway. You think about how you always wanted to do some exercise. You say this is the best opportunity to do it. You rationalise it all in your head and convince yourself this is good for you. So you get up, and you get off that bus with your head held high.



6) Missing The Bus

Pop quiz, hotshot. You see the bus at the bus stop. You’re too far away to make it in time at the current pace you’re walking. What do you do? What do you do?

Option 1 – Run!

Image: Giphy

Do you run for it? You could try. You could risk humiliating yourself if the bus drives off before you get there. People love watching people run for the bus. It’s like a spectator sport.

Many have run for the bus. Many have fallen. Some give up halfway through, breathing heavily, clutching their chests. Some start crying. Some laugh maniacally and wave the bus goodbye.

And you know what the worst thing is? When you’ve got to switch buses but you never make it in time. There’s no worse feeling than getting off one bus and seeing your connecting bus drive off into the distance. And now you have to sit at that stupid bus stop for the next 40 minutes.

Option 2 – Let It Go…

Image: Ask.FM

You learn to just let it go. In the back of your mind, you’ve already got a backup transit plan ready. So what if you missed the bus, you ask yourself. Big deal. You’ll just switch to Plan B.

You learn to rationalise every single thing you do. It doesn’t matter what logic you apply to the situation. As long as you can justify your actions and not feel bad, you’re doing fine.

So you don’t even bother running. But the funny thing is that you speed up just a tiny bit. Yes, you’ve already accepted the fact that you’re going to miss the bus, but you still hope that you might make it. There’s always that tiny glimmer of hope, no matter how pessimistic you are.

Pessimist or not, I’m sure you’ve had some awkward moments of your own. Feel free to share them in the comments! If you enjoyed this post, please click that like button and subscribe for more!

DISCLAIMER: All memes were created through the imgflip Meme Generator

(No memes were harmed in the making of this blog post)


2 thoughts on “Commuting Struggles Of The Socially Anxious Introvert: Part Two

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