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.