This past weekend, I attended a baseball game in Toronto which meant I had to take the subway downtown. Unfortunately, the subway was closed for maintenance work. Thus, shuttle busses were deployed. It was fun, really. Lots of smelly, sweaty, sardine-can-esque fun.
I should clarify, whenever I take the subway downtown, it stops at 17 stations. The first 11 were running last weekend. It was the last six which weren’t. So, I had to get off at the 11th station and hop on a shuttle bus.
It’s not like a lot of people had to get downtown on Saturday. There was only a baseball game, soccer game, hockey game, University fair for high school students, some sort of race in the morning, and a million other things that people do in Toronto.
When I got off the subway and went outside, I was immediately surrounded by smokers who were walking in the same direction as I was. I used my quickness to get ahead of them and their stench.
And then I got to an intersection and they caught up to me. I had a smoker on my left and a smoker on my right and a mob of people behind me
holding torches and pitch forks. It was at this point where I held my breath for the next 53 seconds until I could cross the street.
I finally crossed the street and had to join the shuttle bus line which was about 17 football fields in length. Okay, maybe not that long. More like 16.
Nonetheless, the line moved quickly and I only stood in the sun for about ten minutes before I was told to
stand in a mosh pit get on a bus.
I was one of the last ones on, which meant I was standing near the front of the bus. We were all back to back; I used the person’s backpack behind me as a back rest.
As soon as the bus started moving and I put my hand on the bar to balance myself, I knew I was picking up a million germs. We’re all germaphobes, right? Don’t tell me you’re not. Don’t tell me you don’t mind touching railings on public transportation like they’re a fork at a restaurant.
They aren’t. You just know that someone sneezed in their hand and put it in the same spot that your hand now sits.
As we went from stop to stop, and people got off, more got on. We were packed in there like sardines. People were sweating. I imagine that is what night clubs are like.
There were two little kids. One girl sat down and her sister sat on top of her. Why everyone else on the bus couldn’t apply the two person per seat technique, I don’t know. It looked effective.
Oh wait, are strangers not supposed to sit on each other? That might be why. Disregard what I just said.
I finally arrived at my last stop and was free. No more shuttle bus! Until 4 hours later when the game ended.
When the baseball game finished, I walked as quickly as I could to get to the shuttle bus which was about a 20 minute walk from the stadium. I made sure to pass as many crowds of people as possible because I knew where most of them were headed.
I got to the shuttle bus line and it was less than half a football field in length. Success!
It was also located on a corner that had a bank on every corner, for a total of five banks. Yes, five banks. Yes, I know there are only four corners to an intersection. But there were five banks. Deal with it.
And just down the street from the banks was Trump Tower. How nice! People were taking pictures. I don’t know why. Just Google the thing.
I got on the shuttle bus and was forced all the way to the back. Again, I was standing. It wasn’t so bad. I was on the elevated seating part of the bus so I could see above the heads of everyone on the lower level.
There were two little boys on the bus. They didn’t know each other, but started talking to each other. Or maybe they were talking at each other. Either way, noise was coming out of them. One was five years old and the other was two. You know how I know? They told each other.
The five year old wouldn’t stop talking. At times, he was the only one on the bus who was talking. Everyone else around him did their best, “I don’t hear a word of this, I’m just staring out the window” face.
Then we came up to a stop and the two year old put his entire face to the window. He was kissing it. The mother noticed and didn’t stop him.
Now, I’m not in any position to hand out parenting tips, but I think if you see your kid pressing their face up against the window of a bus, you should probably stop them. Right? Tell me if I’m wrong.
So that happened.
And then, because we’re in Canada and Canada was playing a hockey game against Russia that evening, the bus driver announced that Canada had scored. People cheered. Only in Canada, I tell you.
And then someone cut the cheese. Broke wind. Let the pigs out the pen. Broke the barricade. Whispered loudly.
Do you guys understand what I’m trying to say?
It felt like I was sprayed by a skunk. Quick! Where is the tomato juice?
There was a vicious smell and it surrounded me. I know I didn’t do it, but the people sitting and standing around me could’ve looked at me and assumed I did. I was by myself. I wasn’t standing too closely to any of the other standers. It had to be me, right?
In the middle of this World Smell III, the bus stopped at another station and I had to move to the side to let people by. My backside was within a foot of the people sitting – there was nowhere else to go. And in that moment, I wish I could’ve turned around and assured them not worry, I wasn’t the one who created the vile odour.
But I couldn’t do that. Strangers can’t say those kind of things to each other.
I just hope they knew I was the patsy in the situation. Someone who was framed for a cheese cutting they did not perform.
Thankfully, the smell subsided and I was able to breathe again. Good thing I had prepared my lungs earlier in the day when I held my breath for the smokers.
I got off the bus and hopped on the subway where I stood for the next 30 minutes, holding onto a railing that was probably infested with about 36 diseases.
Eventually, I arrived home and felt fortunate to not be surrounded by a million people for the first time in about 8 hours.
In conclusion, if you’re claustrophobic, shuttle busses are your worst nightmare. And if you’re not claustrophobic, shuttle busses are still your worst nightmare.