Dann (absolutedann) wrote,

Safety Dance...

Today I caught a bus. It isn't an unprecedented event, but for the last decade has not been a common one. I create this entry based upon my interaction with someone I perceived to be a regular passenger, though this is not to be a commentary on 'the great unwashed' aboard public transport that is often penned by infrequent travellers. This shall be an observation of a trend towards alarmist safety precautions.

'Omigosh!' Kate had cried earlier at work, without provocation. 'I just realised that I'm eating peanut butter!'

'Okay...' said Andrew, seeming to be uncertain of the significance of the exclamation, as I too must have appeared as I searched between the two for hints of some running joke I'd missed the genesis of whilst relegated to training rooms. But no laughter came.

'I mean,' Kate started. 'I didn't ask everyone if it's okay.'

'It's fine...?' answered Andrew, the tone of uncertainty prevailing to the point that Kate further clarified.

'I mean, I didn't check first if anyone on our level is allergic to peanuts.'

Andrew and I laughed, and Kate asked what was funny.

'You're just going to eat the peanut butter though, right?' I confirmed.

'You weren't going to smear it all over people's faces, were you?' Andrew continued.

'Obviously not,' Kate rolled her eyes. 'But some people are extremely allergic.' By now she had packed away the offending condiment. 'And I don't have an EpiPen.'

The apparent neglect over, I went back to work, and thought to myself that it would never occur to me to go to such extreme lengths in the interest of public safety. I am also the first to admit that I am not the most civic-minded of people, probably. I encountered someone else later that very day just as interested in public safety. It was on the aforementioned bus.

I'd taken my car to have its roof replaced that morning (it was damaged by criminals in December in a crime almost identical to one five years earlier.) Due to staff at the repair shop being absent, the car wasn't ready as planned this afternoon, so I'll pick it up tomorrow. In the meantime, I sought alternate transport, and ended up on a bus.

I took a seat at the rear of the bus, but noticed a woman already at the front speaking loudly to the driver, who was paying her little attention. I paid her equally as much attention and continued to read. I did look up, however, as she raised her voice significantly each time the bus started drawing to a halt before upcoming stops to let passengers on and off. Each time a passenger rose from their seat, she would shout at them to sit down until the bus stopped moving, and would also loudly advise the driver that she had warned the passengers of such. As far as I could see, the driver did not respond.

'Watch out!' she shouted at a woman with a shopping cart, then, to the driver, 'Aren't you going to do something about that?'

I couldn't tell exactly what she was talking about.

'Oh!' she seemed distressed. 'It's still happening!'

I wondered if she was less cogent than I had originally thought.

'Why aren't you doing anything?' I heard her ask the driver again. 'What will it take? Does someone have to be injured? Does someone need to be killed?'

As the bus stopped to let more passengers alight, the woman crept carefully from her front seat to one more centrally located. Her distress continued in her new position though, and she continued warning passengers to the unseen danger she had identified, to little response. She sounded almost defeated as she wailed 'Why won't something be done?'

Before long, the bus drew near my stop, and I pressed the button to inform the driver. As I rose to leave the bus, I was, predictably, screamed at.

'Watch out!' the woman wailed at me.

'For what?' I asked.

She pointed to the floor of the bus, and I looked to see an empty Coca-Cola bottle rolling on the floor.

'Watch out for the bottle?' I asked.

'Someone could trip!' she confirmed. 'Someone could be killed! And the driver doesn't care!'

I took the bottle with me when I left the bus, and put it in my recycle bin at home. It was the first time I have seen such commotion in regards to a plastic bottle and peanut butter in the one day.
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