Encounters using the Polish public transport system

Backpacks

There I was, on the bus, minding my own business commuting to work. Stop after stop commuters got on and off. I observed the beehive out on the street.

Suddenly, I was slammed out of my aura. Looking at what had caused that great discomfort, I saw someone making his way to the back of the bus. That yokel, or just plain daft twat, had a backpack on sticking out behind him from here to Katmandu. My co-commuters were being displaced as Mr. Cabbage-for-a-brain made his way through them.

No need for an A in Geometry to realize that even if you move sideways, the backpack will still be there.

Closing doors

As I came round the corner, I saw the tram approaching the tram stop. The passengers got out but the doors stayed open. “Ah,” I thought, “today is my lucky day.” The driver had a red light.

I sprinted up the street. Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson would have eaten my dust if it was to be the 100m final at the Olympic games. As I reached the crossing, I was still smiling at the girl I had passed. The image of her splintering the cobblestones with her high-heel shoes, her mini-skirt flipping up and down revealing the latest Victoria Secret fashion as she was trying to make it for the tram as well.

The scenes from the fashion world were replaced by all my Algebra lessons flickering through my brain. I hesitated as I calculated the distance I still had to cover and the speed of the oncoming 10t truck. The thought of waiting for the next tram replaced pi and calculus. “Now or never”, I thought. As I dashed across the street, I saw from the corner of my eye that the tram driver was observing every move I made.

I felt the sickle of the Angel of Death cutting my neck hair as the truck passed behind me. Relieved, I worked out that my third step would be the inside of the tram. Unknowingly, the tram driver, probably better at Algebra than I was, was making his own calculations. One step from the tram, the doors closed. I frantically pushed the button to open the doors but to no vail.

I looked forward to the reflection of the driver in the side mirror. It seemed he had become a bird lover, for he was looking up to the sky admiring… nothing.

While looking at the departing tram, my anger was suppressed as ‘Barbie’ also arrived and sighed a disappointed: “Kurdy.”(a soft swearword for 'fuck' in Polish)

Toddlers

I was on my way to work early one morning with a slight headache from the night before. I caught a glimpse of the other commuters as they were still trying to wipe the Sandman’s dust off. The bus was almost empty and peaceful. My headache had partially subsided as I listened to the song playing softly on the radio. As the bus approached the next stop, I saw one of my worst nightmares. A lank group of toddlers were being taken on a daytrip.

I nervously tried to find the best secluded spot in the bus. In my panic to find a secure spot, I caught a glimpse of the teachers in their frantic struggle to keep the over energetic bunch from under the oncoming bus. The first image that came up was the inside of an ant nest. The song on the radio had died out under the thunderous sound of exciting kids, even though they were still outside.

As the doors opened, it was a stampede. With the stampede a deafening mixture of yells and screams. I was swirled in all four wind directions by the brutal force created by the stampede.

It didn’t calm down. As in an ant nest, they were not in one place longer than a split second. Exasperating!

Grannies

I was patiently waiting at the stop for the already late tram, as I noticed an elderly woman limping towards the stop. That loving grandma had just visited her grandchildren and had spoiled them with presents and sweets.

She had started her daunting journey to the tram stop about half an hour ago, although it was only twenty metres away from the house. I looked down the tracks to see if the tram was on its way. On the horizon I could only make out a faint blob, it had to be the tram.

At that particular moment, our loving granny underwent some kind of metamorphosis. It can be compared to a cartoon series on TV of about 15 years ago, called ‘Brave Star’. He was a sheriff on a distant planet, protecting the community against evildoers. Our hero had three supernatural powers he could call upon when needed.

First: “Eyes of a Hawk”. With this he could see very far.

Second: “Strength of a Bear”. He then had immense power.

Third: “Speed of a Puma”. He then could run very fast.

As the blob came closer and took on the shape of a tram, our sweet granny had called upon her first supernatural power, “Eyes of a Hawk”. With this enabled, she scanned the inside of the tram for any empty seats. If there were none, she would have rescanned it for anyone she thought was not worthy of being seated.

The tram stop was getting alive as people started standing closer. As the doors opened, passengers burst out. By this time granny had called upon her second power, “Strength of a Bear”. With brutal force she bulldozed forward, parting everyone as Moses could only dream of doing with the Red Sea.

Halfway up the steps, granny called upon her third power, “Speed of a Puma”. Our frail granny’s osteoporosis and arthritis had disappeared by then, as she dashed for the empty seat.

Customary to elders using public transport here, she would have transformed into something our hero Brave Star never was if no empty seat was available. She would have hovered over the individual she had marked earlier. She would have bombarded that innocent soul with criticisms and sarcastic remarks until he or she would have got up.

If undergoing this torture, do not try to counter attack. She’s tougher than you think. Remember, apart from having those supernatural powers, she survived either one or both World Wars, depressions and recessions.

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