Apr 23, 2007

Seat lurkers

I have used Greek public transportation for many years and there is one particular type of passenger that has always irritated me.

The seat lurker.

Mostly female, definitely over 50, varying weight, usually short, with an uncanny ability to cut through a long line of preceding passengers, thrusting purses and shopping bags out of their paths, gnarling "if you can't handle it, take a cab".

They are famous for their Superman x-ray vision, able to scan and detect vacant seats from afar as the bus stop, before they even board the vehicle. Once they lock in empty chair coordinates, they proceed with G.I. Jane determination, eyes unblinkingly glued to the goal: The Seat.

In the unlikely case that someone else beats them to The Seat. The war is not over. They will hover annoyingly above seated young Ipoder until he/she relinquishes. If simple hovering goes unnoticed, then heavy respirations ensue. If those don't work, they whip out the old "I-could-be-your-mother/grandmother" cow-eyes accompanied with phony sweet smile and eyelash battings.

If obstinate chump STILL refuses to budge, seat-lurker reluctantly turns to other seated bus riders skimming for hints of potential dismounting and fresh seat coordinates.

I've had many personal bad experiences with this rude lot over the years. Only this morning, on a packed bus that could have easily been mistaken for a sardine can, a seat opened up directly in front of me. I looked around in case there was someone more needy than I and indeed, a couple people down, was an old man weakly balancing himself by a hanging bus strap.

By the time I motioned him to come and sit down, a female seat lurker had plopped herself down in the available seating. I informed her that an elderly gentleman was about to be seated and I got a mouthful of adjectives from her from out of the blue. Nasty mouth, too. Old man remained standing, I was fuming.

This is why I feel no remorse when I utilize my own personal ploy against seat lurkers as payback. If I'm seated and I notice a disgruntled, standing seat-lurker (you can tell by their eyes, up down the aisle doing the scan), I bait them. How? By adjusting my bag strap over my shoulder (makes it look like I'm getting ready to board off).

Bait is taken and they start to make their way through a bus full of standing people. I get halfway up from my seat and then.... innocently re-adjust the folds of my skirt and sit down again, never intending to get off the bus in the first place.

The expression of disgust on their faces is priceless.