How to look cool waiting for the bus: 20 foolproof tips

Wikimedia Commons: Miners waiting for the bus to take them to Richlands after they have washed up at the bathouse. Jewell Ridge Coal Company, Jewell Valley Mine, Jewell Valley, Tazewell County, Virginia.

Wikimedia Commons: author, Russell Lee.

Tips to operate with grace and polish in a congested, urban setting with strangers.

1. DON’T LOOK LIKE YOU’RE WAITING

As in the doctor’s office or standing outside an important meeting, be ready at all times but don’t be too obvious that you’re waiting. Most will pull out their smartphones and start diddling them, but resist the temptation: you’re not “most.”

2. BE UNUSUAL

Acting different has several benefits: you’ll frighten others and keep them at bay. You may attract a new bed partner. It’s more fun than being normal and will garner you attention while everyone else is bored, looking for something to do.

Today, I crossed my arms and paced in loose parabola formations, chanting. You can also try slow, squatting exercises or practicing new fist bump moves, like the Daps Explosion, which mimics an explosion in slow motion.

3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO SMOKE

Still legal in some places, smoking keeps most people outside your private area and may attract a new bed partner. Unconcerned with their health and written warnings, smokers are more likely to take chances and sleep with strangers.

4. SPIT IF IT COMES UP

Better out than in if you have to clear your throat or your mind. While it may not attract new bed partners, spitting does promote an edge about you, just do it a few yards off the queue, downwind.

5. BE PREPARED

Unless you’re a stoner or the homeless, don’t be surprised when they ask you to pay to get on the bus. Keep current with the fare schedules and understand the one zone, two zone system. Don’t pretend to be surprised you didn’t know the fare and conversely, don’t be over-eager with it either. Being cool is about deft, natural movements that don’t stand out.

6. READ A NEWSPAPER

In the not so distant future, newspapers will come back in a big way once people realize they’re losing touch with the tactile nature of real print. Newspapers also serve as a point of differentiation and won’t distract you with chimes or notifications. You can reuse the paper if you get into a bind, as toilet tissue or fire starter.

7. DON’T OVERDRESS

Most coaches are climate-controlled, so don’t go overboard trying to look comfortable. If it’s cold outside, you don’t want to look cold or bundled up like your fucking mom dressed you. Try layers, which you can remove and tie around yourself.

8. PRACTICE A NEW LANGUAGE

No one knows you and you can be anyone from anywhere so try it on, be different. I string together a variety of foreign words with a mumble, my favorite being the Ren Shen Feng Wang Jiang series, a bee pollen good for hangovers. Say it fast, with conviction. It acts as a repellant and may attract a new bed partner.

9. BE THE QUEUE BUT DON’T MANAGE THE QUEUE

This goes with our first tip, Don’t Look Like You’re Waiting. If it doesn’t appear you’re waiting in line, people will cut you. Support the integrity of the queue, but don’t stand more than two man-distances from the person in front. Smoking, spitting, or mumbling made-up languages will maintain this same logic by keeping the person behind at bay.

10. CONSIDER A FAMILIAR OR A POCKET CHARM

The mad and the gifted use animals or objects for channeling their secret powers, for storing energy and then summoning it in desperate situations. It can be a mouse tied to a string you caress and coo at, or a tennis ball you do hand exercises with. If you’re going with the familiar, don’t be too obvious with your affection or get into arguments, it will freak people out.

11. IF YOU’RE USING A HOODED SWEATSHIRT DON’T PULL THE DRAWSTRING TOO TIGHT

Nowadays, hooded sweatshirts signal danger to most. Use it to your advantage. It will keep the heat in and your hair intact, and may attract a new bed partner if it looks like you’re in training for something, have goals.

12. CARRY YOUR KEYS ON YOUR HIP

Keys denote responsibility. They don’t have to open anything: you can make multiple copies of your house key and practice stroking them to make music, or release nervous tension. Get a locking carabiner and a thick chain, but don’t get caught rounding tight corners, this is a safety hazard working around printing presses or fast trains.

13. THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WAITING

I always wear my mountaineering boots because they’re good in all weather and I can take one of them off and use it to hold my coffee upright while I’m getting my fare together and balancing in modified tree pose on the other. If that doesn’t make sense, just wear sandals — but never with socks.

14. KEEP HYDRATED BUT KNOW WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

It’s no mistake CamelBak calls it a bladder, because that’s just what it’s affecting, your bladder! I wear a two-liter unit with the hose fashioned under my hood, concealed along the inside of my layers which keeps the mouthpiece from freezing at high altitudes. Most coaches don’t have a restroom and you don’t want to look like you have to pee, because there’s no way to do that and look cool.

15. DON’T TOUCH YOUR BEARD

Men who fiddle-fuck with their beards are self-conscious and finicky, and this may signal you’re waiting, nervous about the fare, or overly proud about your beard. Wear it like the king that you are and they will be drawn out of the cracks to serve you.

16. IF YOU WEAR GLASSES, DON’T

All you need to do is get on the bus and find a seat, then you can get back to your weak and needy self. People in glasses look over-educated and overpaid, overly concerned about correct hyphen usages and semi-colons, hackneyed writing styles, academics, faggots. Have you ever seen an animal in the wild with glasses? They’d get killed. They did get killed, and that’s why you don’t see them, they’re extinct. Remember this is the wilderness, the natural order of things, the real world. Be the killer you are and lose the bifocals, doc.

17. DON’T STARE AT ANYONE EXCEPT YOURSELF

I like a woman who’s not afraid to make herself up in public. It denotes a sense of urgency, and prioritizes the value of appearances, self-respect. If you’re a man, use the mascara brush like an artist’s tool, a paint brush, your face the canvas. Be lavish, think curlycues, classical music composer, sweeping movements. Find an inventive way to capture your reflection, like your watch face or your phone (get the iPhone 7.9 app for hand mirror here, also good for sending emergency signals in the backcountry).

18. DA DOO RAG, RAG, RAG, DA DOO RAG, RAG

Not just for capturing sweat or filtering river water, bandannas are also good as tourniquets, fire starter, or toilet tissue. They can be worn cowboy style around the neck, Rambo style across the forehead, or gangsta style on the skull. Also comes in handy to breathe through teargas, and with bed partners as a makeshift ball gag or for binding.

19. SEE SOMETHING? SAY SOMETHING (NOT!)

The world is a mysterious place full of mystery and people of like origins and mindset. No one’s really sure if it’s the right bus, how much it costs, where they’re going or what time it is. Share these tips but lead by example and don’t be alarmed by suspicious behaviour. Be suspicious instead of the unsuspicious pretending to fit in but always watching you, ready to pounce. If you must use earbuds have it on mute and bob your head up and down, mouth the words. Never break a stare first.

20. BUY A POCKET NOTEPAD AND LEARN HOW TO USE IT

For around a buck, you can buy a cheap pocket notepad and splay it in one hand while scrawling feverishly with the other. Doesn’t get viruses or require updating. It looks urgent, and will signal to others that something’s going on, because something always is.

Dedicated to my friend Ross Murray at Drinking Tips for Teens.

About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
This entry was posted in humor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to How to look cool waiting for the bus: 20 foolproof tips

  1. walt walker says:

    The hoodie is a highly underrated garment. Your sly use of the other f-bomb is impressive and stonesy. Good advice on how to multi-purpose those boots.

    Like

    • pinklightsabre says:

      I think it’s my 472 post and maybe only my third F bomb so that’s one of my plans for the New Year to fucking whip it out and start hitting that shit. Thank you Walt and enjoy your day.

      Like

  2. Ze Hao says:

    I am thoroughly enlightened by this!

    Like

  3. This is fantastic! So sick and tired of all these people staring at their smartphones while waiting!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Having ridden buses all over the country, commuted by them for years, I would say #21 is “Don’t carry the party with you, especially at 7am.” Despite your perceptions, you’re not being subtle when taking a swig from that cheap ass beer or a drag off that not-cigar. On the other hand, it will keep me from standing or sitting near you when the inevitable motion barf or request for my breakfast sandwich happens.

    Like

    • pinklightsabre says:

      I was going to address that in the bit about the CamelBak, but didn’t want to alienate any of my readers by taking a position on drinking and riding, because I’ve done it but only on subways after music festivals.

      Like

  5. rossmurray1 says:

    Like Maxim for schizophrenics. The surprise ending was the best part. An honour to be part of this crazy train. This calls for a reblog.

    Like

  6. rossmurray1 says:

    Reblogged this on Drinking Tips for Teens and commented:
    My cool pal Bill dedicated this post to me, the mensch. It’s my kind of crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ksbeth says:

    excellent and cool.

    Like

  8. thisisyouth says:

    “Have you ever seen an animal in the wild with glasses? They’d get killed.”
    thanks for the laugh.

    Like

  9. Karyl.Agana says:

    I find that people get really uncomfortable when you stare. So I stare with coffee on one hand a smoke on the other.
    That’s a foolproof tip of having the space on a crowded bustop and nabbing a seat on a bus.

    Like

    • franhunne4u says:

      Maybe I should take on smoking, then .. but then again, the people I would want to repel would be smokers – and I doubt that is going to happen. So I will go with the age old remedy for people like me – cat urine – for crazy old cat ladies like me. I may even keep my glasses on 😉

      Like

      • pinklightsabre says:

        Cat urine is the most powerful of the Timeless Impurities and may get you a free seat anywhere you sit. Good god I think I can smell it now, coming through the line.

        Like

      • franhunne4u says:

        Oh, that explains why I get a double seat for myself nearly every morning. Those times I don’t I suspect the person sitting next to me must at least temporarily have lost the olfactory sense.

        Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      There’s something about wild cats staring at one another and some cultures, where you have to be really careful about staring. Which tells me you should do it, stare. I like that, thanks for reading.

      Like

  10. Ned's Blog says:

    Bill, if I’d known that was you doing the squats at the bus stop, I would’ve said “Hi” instead of reading the newspaper. Next time I’ll know better. Thanks for the tips, by the way. We don’t have a bus here, but I’ll just use them when I’m standing in line at the grocery store…

    Like

    • pinklightsabre says:

      Hi Ned! That is truly the sign of a small town, the bus system. Perhaps in that quaint ice cream shop, with the fortune teller machine outside, you can get your groove on while you wait. I don’t feel I can be funny yet and should refrain until I’ve had enough coffee. The sun comes slow this time of year, you know. Best to you and yours and thanks for reading friend! – Bill

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ned's Blog says:

        That fortune teller machine from “Big” is still there in front of BJ’s Ice Cream, just down the street from our house. I stop by every day and get my fortune so I know how to plan my day. Coincidentally, it always starts with ice cream…

        Great post, Bill!

        Now go do some squats and get some coffee.

        Liked by 1 person

      • pinklightsabre says:

        Roger that!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. byebyebeer says:

    Better embarrassingly late to comment than never (thanks Staff Picks!) but my god, this is like a dream you’ll keep thinking about years later. I wish cats wore glasses, or at least one of my cats (the other would look silly). Daps explosion is a cooler name than what it is. How often does that happen? (not often) The only point I don’t agree with is lace your hoodie tight. Not sure how that attracts bed partners and you may have already considered this for your piece. The rest is 100% spot on!

    Like

    • pinklightsabre says:

      It’s never too late! I do that often, and I think it’s disruptive and weird in a very cool way. Like, I forgot I wrote that, you know?! Glad you had a chance to read it because it’s one of my favorites from the year, inspired by a bus ride down to Portland and some early morning kooky thoughts. I wrote it on the bus down there and it was like poof! I was there in no time. I looked up and I was in Portland, 2.5 hours later. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kristen and no, I’m not a tight-hoody guy. I did get some sporty shoes while in Portland though: they really have the whole Shoe Thing figured out. Like, how to get you to justify spending lots on industrial worker shoes from the 50s and Filson flannels, and so forth. Good thrift-shopping there for sure and kooky people watching, one of my favorite past-times.

      Like

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