THE SOCIAL SUBURBAN SNUB
If there is one thing that grates my nerves a little more than others when visiting or living in a smaller, regional town, it is the small mindedness that seems to come with the small-town mentality. One cannot escape it and it seems to breed, rapidly; in the manner of a kind of social vampirism.
So many aspects of life which are meaningless necessities designed and utilised for functionality in the city are viewed with such stigma and even a little apprehension by those who’s entire life is led amidst only their own kind in their own little social circles in their own home town within which their entire life revolves. Catching a bus is just one example of this.
The amount of stigma which small town suburban snobs attach to something as non-eventful as a bus ride is laughable. The sideways glances, silent judgments and instant conclusions that are drawn by those watching one mount a bus laden with bags of groceries is rather astounding and would be comical if it weren‘t so pathetic.
Automatically it seems one is assumed to be poverty-stricken, of negligent social status, presumably unemployed and leading a life that is most certainly not worthy of mention, and indeed, best swept under the carpet for fear that those watching those mount the buses just may catch something of their evidently down-trodden lifestyle.
These same people, if un-availed of their own means of transport will call for a taxi in preference to catching a bus, re-affirming to themselves their own status within the community by out-laying a fare far beyond what is necessary in order to partake of the ‘classier’ convenience that is a cab-ride.
For you see, it is far more elegant to catch a cab than to ride a bus. Much preferred are the longer waiting times and the less readily available service. Of course one feels far superior paying four times the price to get where one is going in half the time it would take on the bus. Being entertained by the driver for the entire trip, answering a bunch of inane questions most don‘t wish to ask in the first place; or conversely spending the entire trip attempting to ignore the stony silence of a cab driver who wishes to be anywhere doing anything but servicing you is just what one wishes to outlay one‘s hard earned money on. It’s a status thing, you know.
The small-town suburban snub. Such doesn’t occur in the cities. A bus is a standard and crucial convenience in every large city, depended upon my most of its working and travelling populace. Every man and his dog will daily catch public transport; tramps and five figure executives sit side by side every day, each in happy ignorance of the other.
Taxi’s, on the other hand are avoided in the city if at all possible; the frustration of waiting times, driver attitudes, wrong routes taken, not to mention traffic jams, peak hour traffic and the hefty fees which accompany such events, generally make for public transport being the more attractive alternative.
Overall, buses are more reliable, cheaper, and there are no personalities involved; not to mention the regularity of available routes. There is a certain freedom involved with catching a bus; one can remain anonymous, happily expecting to be ignored by and to ignore every other person on the bus; a kind of unspoken ‘bus etiquette’, if you will.
The great psychological advantage of catching a bus lies in being able to ease mentally into where one is going. There is no sudden arrival, but rather, sufficient time to prepare one’s head for what is to ensue, whether it be work, shopping, partying or visiting a friend. Invariably bus rides are more viable financially than most other means of transportation and in addition one can enjoy the scenery and think ones own thoughts, relaxed in the knowledge that one will most certainly arrive at one‘s destination via the same route as yesterday.
As the eyes of the ‘echellons of society’ avert surreptitiously from the path of an oncoming line of bus catchers in small-town suburbia; one can only muse upon how these small-minded, social snubs would fall if snatched from their own little, community built, social rankings and thrust into a broader thinking world which far outweighs, socially, mentally and commercially anything within their own.
Worlds within worlds, within worlds. Such attitudes from small-town socialites are nonsensical, perpetuated by a small-minded populace in desperate need of a reality infusion. It is so easy to forget, whilst one spins higher and higher in the light of ones self ignited flame that there is always something, someone and somewhere bigger, better and brighter than you will ever be. But then, not being able to see beyond one’s own existence is exactly what makes small-minded people in suburban towns just what they are. Is it not?
© Lady Opine 2010.