It was a simple Facebook post from Jovana a while back. It struck me when she said she was giving up taking public transportation due to obnoxious people. It had me wondering what it took to make that decision. At last year’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, I sat down with Jovana to find out. Nate’s comments were appreciated as well because he was familiar with the ledgendary lady in question.
Jovana: So remember that big lady who was on the bus.
Nate: Yeah, I’ve ridden on the bus with her.
Jovana: She would be on the phone all of the time.
Nate: The entire trip.
Jovana: Yes, and she was really obnoxious and I would dread getting on the bus with her.
Nate: Six years ago when I rode the bus she was on the same bus all the time and I couldn’t believe—I was like, oh no not her. I would get off the bus. I would wait twenty minutes for the next bus to avoid her. I swear to God.
Jovana: It was awful. So my first experience with the bus was, I had not ridden the bus until this summer, this past summer.
Nate: You hadn’t ridden anything TriMet related.
Jovana: When was that May?
Jovana: June, something like that. So I would ride it from downtown from the big pink building, US Bank Corp. tower, there’s a bus right in front of that. I’d take it to Nate’s work in Tigard and, I don’t know, it’s maybe like ten stops. I would get on the bus and the very next stop she would get on the bus. This woman, she’s a big lady, she’s white. I know far too much about her life. She’s a temp at some place.
Nate: She’s big. She’s disproportionally big.
Nate: She’s just big. From the waist she’s got this, you know those things you used to bounce on as a kid.
Jovana: The top and the bottom
Nate: Like two of those together. That’s the lower portion of her body. She takes up at least three seats on the bus.
Jovana: Yeah…So you know people, generally, they’re not on the phone on the bus or other forms of transportation because it’s loud and there is a lot of attention or whatever. People read to themselves. A lot of people are quiet. This woman, she couldn’t hear. She was screaming into the phone.
The Portland Orbit: Oh no!
Jovana: And personal things like how her job is really awful. She’s a temp at this place. She’s been there so long. They won’t give her a permanent position and she thinks it’s because she’s a woman. She’s yelling at her 14-year-old daughter, I don’t know, something about shoes, I remember, like screaming on the phone. This happened four or five times, every time I would get on the bus, argghhh, and if she was not on the bus—whoo wee, this is going to be a great ride. And she would always sit right across from me.
Orbit: Oh God!
Jovana: Right across or a little bit to the right, always within kicking distance
Nate: Yeah, because the bus is not a lot of space then when someone who’s not normal sized, all of a sudden, they’re in your lap.
Jovana: She was loud every single time. She was bitching about everything. Why don’t people like me? It was like because you’re so loud and rude and listen to yourself and no wonder no one wants to hear this and then she would gossip about people. She was irritated about them and other people gossiping, I was like you’re fucking gossiping about them here, right here, I can hear who you’re complaining about.
Orbit: I guess I was wondering, like, what I had written about, I was trying to figure out why people aren’t more conscious of other people. They just feel like they need to make their phone conversation. That supersedes everything.
Jovana: I think people are just oblivious.
Jovana: They have no idea that there are other people on the bus, other people on the road…
Nate: Or other people on the planet. They think their problems are the universe’s problems.
Jovana: They have limited perspectives
Nate: There was an attack on America in 2001? When was that?
Nate: They have no idea, no concept of anything.
Jovana: Some people are that way. They have no idea that they are not the only person in the world.
Nate: They tell me that everyday in traffic. I don’t know if I believe it.
Orbit: Did that kind of color your whole TriMet experience.
Jovana: I hate it. I don’t like…
Orbit: Because you think that’s going to happen again?
Jovana: It’s going to happen again and there is nothing you can really do about it. As much as I wanted to say hey lady stop talking can you just be quiet, I only have three more stops, you can’t really say that. Maybe I should have said that. The bus driver isn’t going to do anything about that and all the other people on the bus are feeling the same way. I haven’t ridden the bus since summer time. It’s obnoxious and I would much rather wait at work, spend an extra hour at work by the time Nate comes down then have to go sit on the bus. You have to listen to everyone, it’s crowded, everyone is in a hurry like we were just talking about. Nobody has any perception of what everyone else is doing. It’s just like all I can see is myself.
Nate: Do you remember when I told you about how I was on the bus and I had my headphones visibly in and people would just talk to me and I’d look at them and go, what, okay and then just hope to God they wouldn’t talk to me again. And they’re not friends they’re complete strangers and you try to look as mean as possible.
Jovana: My mean face doesn’t look right.
Nate: I can do approachable really easily.
Orbit: Was there any straw that broke the camel’s back or did you have the opportunity to not have to take it?
Jovana: I suppose not everyone would have the same opportunity to not take it but I was able to be like you can just come and pick me up after work and I’ll just wait here. It would be nice sometimes to leave work and then get over to Nate’s, that extra half an hour that he doesn’t have to drive would be nice to not have to put him through that because traffic people are the worst.
Orbit: Gonna see that lady again?
Jovana: God, I hope not. I know what area she’s in, any downtown bus is probably not going to happen for me, probably not in the east side or west side because I don’t like those people too.
Nate: The fact that I ran into her too.
Nate: That’s was a long time ago, totally inconsiderate. I had to turn up the music as loud as I could on my phone and it was like really is this really happening?
Jovana: And people would have to sit next to her and she’s screaming on the phone and these poor people are like trying to block it out as much as they can. She’s the worst, whoever she is?
Mean face practice off the bus!
Tip of the pin to Josh G. for a link to this site: http://trimetdiaries.com
As always we salute the rants: