All commuters know that taking the bus, especially in urban areas, is no easy feat and there is no shortage of dramatics. From pushing and shoving, overcrowding on public passenger vehicles, to those who constantly bicker with the conductors about seats and fare, Jamaicans are treated to an onslaught of frustrations daily.
A few months ago, when my own frustrations were high, I had written to the Observer seeking to air my displeasure about what people are subjected to aboard these buses. Not much has changed, for some.
My grandmother told me when I was young that "manners carry you through the world". Well, Grandma, as dead as you are, you were right! My disposition is not always sunny, especially not after I have stood on my feet from Portmore to Half-Way-Tree being squeezed like grapes being crushed for wine, and I still have to fork out money to pay for a most uncomfortable ride. Not even if I was begging a ride I wouldn't be satisfied with that service, but when the journey ends, and I have once again survived, I always remember to thank the driver and the insolent 'ductor, who was arguing when my cramped hand couldn't find a space to reach for the fare.
Fast-forward six months. I am standing at the bus stop, not a trace of anxiety, as I patiently wait on what I now call "my bus". I board the bus with fellow passengers who have their seats reserved at the front of the bus. I smile and politely greet both conductor and driver and take my seat. I have become a part of the bus front bourgeoisie.
How did this happen? One night a few months ago, as the bus approached my stop, the conductor said: "You always have manners, but I don't pick up at the stop in front your scheme, walk to the next one." Eventually I was no longer a standing passenger, I became a "regular" and I am almost always guaranteed a seat with the conductor guarding the way so his ladies can board.
Now my harassment is the women who stare murderously at those boarding like Noah's Ark at port, stepping up to the front of the bus, wondering how they too can get there. My advice is simple learn to have manners, your turn will come.