Reasons why buses are good places for developing character

Note: If comments about eating olives in oil on buses are likely to confuse you, please read this first:

about eating olives on buses

When I'm bored and in need of a dilemma, I get on a bus. Bus journeys provide all the experience of dilemmas you need. Like the other day, when an old lady dropped her credit card, and it slid under her seat. I didn't know whether to let her get it herself (she might have had arthritis and I would have felt like an evil witch) or dive under her seat and fetch it for her (she and all the others watching might have thought I was an evil thieving witch) or pretend I hadn't seen it drop (which would have been most unconvincing as I had already said, 'Oh dear, I think you've dropped something').

I really wish that someone would write a quiz about bus dilemmas, then I could test myself and be fore-warned about situations that might happen and how I'm likely to deal with them.

Oh, how incredible is that? There's a quiz right here.

A Quiz which will Reveal your Personality from the Way you would Behave when Faced with a Terrible Dilemma on a Bus'.

(Doesn't this quiz writer use unnecessarily long titles? And all those capital letters! She seems like a person with more than one dilemma, if you ask me.)

Question 1

You are sitting in a window seat. A very, very large person sits in the seat next to you. Half of their generous frame is also in your seat, with you. The thigh-to-thigh contact is disturbing. What do you do?

a) Move nearer the window and say, without a hint of irony because you really mean it: 'Here, have more of the seat; I actually like sitting in the grimy bit between the edge of the seat and the wall of the bus where all the breadcrumbs and crumpled crisp packets are'.

b) Say everything that's in (a) but with your voice dripping with sarcasm and your eyebrows raised to heaven.

c) Stick your elbow out so that it lodges in one of your fellow passenger's spare rolls of fat. Then, put a set of keys in your trouser pocket nearest to them, and budge up so that the sharp bits dig into their hips. Then, open a jar of garlicked olives in oil. Drop some in their lap.

Question 2

It is a freezing cold day in December, but someone gets on the bus then roves up and down it opening every single window. An Arctic gale whips in and soon you can feel the drips coming off your nose turning into stalactites. What do you do?

a - Shout out, 'Ah, fresh air! That'll keep the swine flu at bay!' and offer your scarf, hat and gloves to the old lady next to you before starting the communal singing of 'Have yourself a merry little Christmas', offering mince pies to everyone on the bus.

b - Stand up and yell, 'Look, sunshine, if you've got a fever and need cooling down, I know a river I can take you to if you'll let me put some lead weights in your turn-ups first'.

c - Take out of your shopping bag the bags of frozen peas and frozen sweetcorn you have just bought, go over to the person who opened the windows, open the bags, and feed the vegetables one by one into his ears and nostrils. Plug each orifice finally with an olive in garlic.

Question 3

You walk onto the bus and a teenager puts out his leg on purpose so that you trip over it. He and his mates snigger at you. You're not hurt, but you're humiliated. What do you do?

a - say, 'I'm most dreadfully sorry. Did I hurt you when I walked into your outstretched leg? Here, have a bandage from my first aid kit which I always carry about because I know how clumsy I can be, ho ho.'

b - say, 'I suppose you've been told to sit in the corridor at school so often that you're making a habit of it, dumbo' then go and sit down.

c - Open up your jar of greasy olives in garlic and empty them all onto the floor of the bus, then take the boy's foot, pull off his trainer and sock, then ram the jar onto the end of his leg, shouting at him, 'Let's pretend you're Cinderella and I'm the Fairy Prince. Look! It fits! It fits!'

Now add up how many a, b & c answers you gave. Look at the diagnostic comments below to see what kind of personality you have.

Mostly a - you are a paragon of politeness and probably a source of great annoyance to your friends because you are so damned holy and self-denying. Lighten up. Why not eat some olives in garlic oil on your next bus journey and see how it feels to irritate someone?

Mostly b - you generally take a humorous slant on life, but should probably pick and choose your moments. Being on a bus during a dilemma may not be the place to practise your stand-up routine. If you want to stay standing up, especially.

Mostly c - you could perhaps learn to manage your anger with your fellow man in other ways. The methods you are currently choosing could lead to unfortunate consequences. Such as death.

Oh, by the way. If you're wondering about the old lady credit card incident, I got down on my hands and knees to fetch her card, making myself incredibly filthy and covered in other people's gum and shoe mud. In doing so, I showed my ample backside to about fifteen passengers for longer than I would have preferred, and I also nearly gave myself a hernia, because the credit card had gone further under the seat than I'd thought. And every time I thought I'd got it, it moved away from my hand. I finally retrieved it. I gave it to her and said very sweetly (this is an (a) option), 'Oh, no problem. No problem at all'. What I felt like saying was (this is a (c) option), 'If you weren't such an old-looking, frail-looking, nice-looking lady, I'd dip your credit card in my jar of olives so that you're dropping it for months ahead, Grannykins.'

Let me know your results.


  1. Anonymous27/8/09 15:27

    let me put it this way, it is probably a good thing there are no bus services in the area I live!

  2. Thanks for your comment, VQ. I take it you are a (c) person?! Should quilters with such peaceful, serene blog posts as yours be quite so (c)?

  3. You forgot b): You gaze ruefully at your dirtied hands, muttering, "Oh it's OK Love, I didn't really want to eat my snack of olives and crisps just yet."

    (Jeez, I hope I don't get graded on this.)

    (I guess crisps are crackers?)

  4. Mark - thanks for your comment. You open up a whole debate with your 'I guess crisps are crackers' comment, because, what do you mean by crackers? In Britain, crackers are either savoury biscuits that you eat with cheese, or paper things you pull at Christmas. Crisps are thin slices of fried/baked potato sold in packets. So I don't know whether your crisps are crackers or not! Oh, crackers is also a slang term for crazy. I forgot that one. Why did I forget that one? I wonder!

  5. We call the potato things 'potato skins'.

    "crackers are either savoury biscuits that you eat with cheese, or paper things you pull at Christmas" - you guys are weird. Everybody knows that crackers are thin crunchy - and, oh yes, crispy - wafers that one eats with cheese, cold-cuts and fruit. Also slang for crazy. And you'll like this: in the Southern states a "cracker" is a poor uneducated white guy - usually elderly. It comes from the type of humble wood-frame houses in the South - 'cracker-style'. Picture an old hound dog sleeping on a porch and a guy in overalls with a shot gun. "You'd best be gettin' yer ass off my propity. You with yer fancy words like Crispins."

  6. I want a bus, I really want a bus, now. Does the same thing go for queues in supermarkets? It's old ladies dropping their coins there though. And kids pushing Mum's trolley into your shins.
    Re the open jar of olives in garlic oil: how do you keep it steady while the bus is lurching from stop to stop? How do you get the oil stains out of your cardy?

  7. Mmm, crisps sound yummy. Similar to what we would call chips. Which we eat with dip, not fish. Though in my opinion, they go with anything. Just keeping the conversation going.

  8. Love your comment, Mark! I like a good 'wordy' discussion. Cold-cuts?????

  9. Friko, those are the very reasons why one should check whether one has bought olives in brine or olives in oil.

  10. Lesley, an Australian friend was saying they have fish and chips like the British do. Not in the States? I have to say, you haven't lived if not, and should go to your travel agent immediately and book yourself on a 'Fish 'n' Chip tour of British cities' or such-like. Prepare to go back at least ten kilos heavier, though.

  11. No, cold-cuts are not abrupt discourteous remarks, nor are they rude interruptions. They are morsels of chilled meats.


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