A Full Meal

June 13, 2007

It’s one of those things that is at once fascinating and slightly horrifying. Busy homeward bus, five o’clock bonecrush, standers swaying in the aisles, matrons yakking at the front of the rig, driver ripping transfers like the slackers at the Garneau ticket booth. In the middle of all that, the woman in front of me – sitting alone in her seat because her bag takes up the valuable seat beside her – pulls out two Tupperware containers and a fork. Great. Here it comes. A bus eater, I think to myself. Bus she’s not your standard bus eater. A chocolate bar demurely consumed? Not a problem. Bag of chips and a Gatorade (formerly my breakfast of choice) thrown down the hatch with the finesse only a longtime bachelor can muster? Pushing it, but still within the realm of acceptability. Busting out a couple Tupperware containers and proceeding to enjoy your leftover spaghetti Bolognese and Greek salad on a relatively crowded bus? Well, sorry, but that’s just fucking ludicrous.

Admission: Once, I demolished a Taco Bell #3 combo on the 50 northbound. That’s the one with “Fries Supreme” – possibly the highest calorie, most disgustingly glorious/foul side dish in the fast food pantheon. I was really hungry. Eat-the-ass-out-of-a-dead-skunk hungry. So I can’t talk too loudly, I guess.

Because I’m sitting behind her, the smell of her day-old pasta wafts into my nostrils first. Maybe she’s dead ass skunk hungry and running behind. Maybe she’s oblivious to her fouling of the already foul bus. Maybe she didn’t have time for lunch. I’ve always considered eating on the bus to be only a faint step away from eating in a public washroom. It would do in an extreme case but it’s a locale that is, for the love of all that’s good and holy, best not considered. Then there’s the breaking of the unspoken but widely observed and understood “don’t complain, don’t explain” transit privacy policy (i.e. mind your own business, and don’t talk to anyone unless you’re answering a question). This woman’s mealtime, innocuous as it may seem to her, is an affront to everyone within eye and nose shot. I really don’t need to see someone crushing leftovers. The visual and olfactory sensations have sullied my personal space.

My stop approaches. Pull the ripcord and get off the bus. On the short walk home I wonder about dinner. Maybe a potato chip sandwich is in order. Perhaps a glorious hot dog, prepared in the greatest counter top appliance known to man. Upon my arrival home, as fate would have it, Justine announces that tonight is pasta night. Spaghetti, sweet spaghetti.

Vignette #203

6 reader comments (closed)



Again, the standards for public conduct are slipping. I couldn’t imagine eating a meal on the bus or train. Is it really necessary?

Jun 13, 2007 • 13:14



eww. i know these people.

Jun 13, 2007 • 16:45



This isn’t the worst case I’ve seen, either. I think that honour would have to go to the guy tearing into a bucket of KFC on the LRT. Asinine, and really disgusting. I thought ETS had a “no food” policy of some kind, but it seems to have been loosened as of late.

Jun 13, 2007 • 23:03


ink slinger

This is a little bit off topic, but, do you actually own one of those hot dog toasters?

As far as eating on the bus, well, that’s just wrong. The worst I’ve ever encountered was a guy eating a Big Mac. Nothing to the extremes you’ve seen. On the one hand, this makes me glad I don’t take the bus anymore. On the other hand, it reminds me of all the insane sights I’m missing. Great fodder for writing, the transit system provides.

Jun 13, 2007 • 23:20



Hot dog toaster? Fuck yes, I own one. Greatest thing ever invented.

Jun 14, 2007 • 08:19


ink slinger

That’s awesome. It seems so ridiculous at first glance, but I would totally use one if I had it. I’m too damn cheap to buy one of my own, though.

Jun 14, 2007 • 23:34

The 51 southbound, rearview mirror, Jan 2007

The 51 southbound, rearview mirror, Jan 2007



StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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