Even with my ipod on I could hear her. There was just no way that Missy Higgins was going to drown out that dreadful din.
"Get off the doooooooor!" screeched the driver, as thirty pairs of tired commuter eyes followed the awful sound to its destination: a hapless tourist who had the unforunate occasion to lean a little too heavily on the exit before the little green light illuminated above the doors. Ha, been there, done that - poor bastard.
CTA bus drivers are a bag of mixed nuts, let me tell you. They seem to lie across a wonderfully exotic spectrum, ranging from the pleasantly friendly, to the professionally cordial, to the downright demented banshee that ferried me from work to home this evening.
I don't know what this woman's problem was, but she drove like the clappers in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Lake Shore Drive, but then put-putted along like a funeral carriage on an empty side road. What the?! And when she wasn't hurling abuse at fellow road users, she was turning her 'affections' to her patrons. She spat and snarled and carried on like a maniac for the full 20 minute journey.
I slid down in my seat and turned up my ipod, hiding behind the rather ample woman sitting in front of me. Cowardly I know, but I wasn't taking any chances. When the bus driver sailed right past the Addison bus stop and a brave passenger at the rear doors asked to be released, the brakes were applied with such force I thought we were going to be catapulted through the windscreen. I swear I could hear the bus driver tsk her tongue - and that's ABOVE the sound of my music. Fortunately the bus was going so slow at the time, the passenger could have just opened the window and leapt out unharmed, without even requiring The Evil One to stop the bus.
I was seriously considering this exit strategy for myself as my own bus stop approached. But I channeled my inner ninja and bravely stood up to exit through the front doors - in direct violation of the bus rules no less! Ignoring the bright red sticker affixed to the front window that expressly forbids patrons to alight at the front doors, I bravely approached the driver's seat. And just then a rather well-built man stood up to get off at my stop. He didn't see me walking gingerly down the aisle, so he managed to get right in front of me. Once again I was concealed by a fellow patron; one who, if challenged, would bear the full brunt of abuse from the driver. Once he was reduced to a quivering blob of nothingness on the floor, I reasoned I would merely step over him and dash across the street into the night.
None of that was necessary of course. And so it was that my man-shield and myself escaped from the 135 bus without incident. No lasers out of eyeballs; no balls of fire out of her mouth - absolutely nothing. Not even a tsk; and not even a 'goodbye' to farewell us. Is it wrong to feel somewhat let down by that?