Today, I truly became a grown-up.
I took public transport.
All. By. Myself.
Isn't that an accomplishment?
I know most of you will be thinking "Puh-lease, I've taken public transport for like, my entire life. What's the big deal????"
Ehhh you think taking public transport that easy ahhhh????
First, you have to walk aaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllll the way to the bus stop. With the scorching hot sun shining directly onto my head, you can bet my sweat has already washed away my perfume scent I just sprayed on five freaking minutes ago.
Then, when you reach the bus stop, you'll start wondering, "Which bus takes me to my destination?" With so many different buses and so many routes, one can never be sure. There was another girl with me at the bus stop, but she was talking on the phone. I wanted to ask her for the right bus, but I didn't think it'd be a good idea to interrupt. Later, I saw an old lady walking towards the bus stop. I thought she'd be of some help.
When she walked up to me, she handed me a bar of chocolate.
My reaction was like "??????????????"
She was like " *In Hokkien dialect* Here, aunty cannot eat chocolate because aunty just underwent an operation (proceeds to lifting up her blouse to show me her scar) so aunty give this to you. And here are also some chewing gum (personally, gums aren't really my thing). Oh, and this egg ."
The first thing that came to my mind:
I was too stunned to say anything at first. After a few seconds of eternity...
And since she handed me those items, I politely took them.
The other girl on the phone began to get curious and looked my way. I gave her a please-save-me-smile. She returned it with a I-feel-so-sorry-for-you-I-wish-I-could-help-but-I-don't-know-what-to-do-smile.
The old lady, oblivious to the silent conversation, proceeded to tell me " *still in Hokkien dialect* Now, aunty is an old lady with no money. If you could be so kind as to give me some money (Ahh, so that was her real intention of giving me those candies) to buy some food to eat, because aunty is very poor."
Know what? Fuck poverty. Fuck being materially challenged. Fuck all those 'poor' people going around asking for money.
Besides, she was decently dressed, and she looked like she had just come back from her marketing. She had with her bags of groceries, vegetables, etc. You think I'd believe her when she says she is poor?
Excuse me hor, aunty. I'm poor also leh. Why don't you give me these candies for free instead? Because hor, I'm too poor to buy them leh.
YOU THINK MONEY DROP DOWN FROM HEAVEN ONE AH??? YOU NO MONEY GO FIND YOURSELF A FUCKING JOB LAH! IF YOU'RE TOO FUCKING LAZY, THEN THAT'S JUST TOO BAD, BECAUSE, IF YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED, NOBODY IN THEIR SANE MINDS WOULD GIVE AN ABLE BODIED PERSON MONEY, JUST BECAUSE THEY ASK FOR IT.
I was tempted to blurt all those to her, but finally all I said was "Er... Sorry, aunty. I've got no money."
Which was obviously a lie.
You know how some people tell deliberate lies, hoping that the other party gets the message?
The stupid old lady was either too dense, had trouble in comprehension, or was just too damn bold.
She said "Don't tell me you don't even have a little money with you?"
Of course I have money, dammit! How else would I pay for the bus fare? I'm just not comfortable with giving it to you!
So, I told her "Sorry, but I need the money to pay for the bus fare and to buy something. I don't have enough to give you."
Another desperate lie.
Which turned out to be kind of true, because by the time I arrived back home, I was almost broke.
As you can see, the old lady isn't the only one being 'poor'.
She kept insisting that I give her some money because according to her, "You are dressed so beautifully (Why, thank you for the compliment, but I'm still not giving you money); it's impossible that you don't have money."
I was beginning to get irritated, but I just replied her as politely as I could, "But I do not have money."
Which part of that fucking sentence do you not understand?
She was so persistent, I can't help but marvel. "A little bit of money is all I ask," she said.
So, I fished out a dollar bill from my pocket (which was supposed to be my bus fare, by the way) and handed it to her.
She looked at the bill and said "One dollar only..."
EXCUSE ME HOR!!!!! I'M THE ONE DOING CHARITY HERE AND YOU DARE COMPLAIN??? FOR FUCK'S SAKE, I CAN VERY EASILY TAKE BACK THAT ONE BUCK FROM YOU IF YOU'RE NOT SATISFIED WITH IT!
"A little bit of money is all I ask". So she says.
And with a little bit of hesitation, she took the candies back from me. And resumed her 'plead' for more money.
I can't believe some people.
Fortunately, a family came along and she diverted.
The girl on the phone asked me what happened, and I told her the whole story. Too bad she couldn't come to my aid when I was desperate.
I could hear the old lady offering the family the candy. I silently prayed for them.
Anyway, back to my bus-taking adventure. Since I didn't know which bus to board, I asked the girl standing beside me. And she told me I didn't have to wait for long.
"30 minutes only."
If 30 freaking minutes isn't long, then pray tell, what is?
And the bus fare was like RM 1.50.
I THOUGHT FEW CENTS ONLY????
And if you didn't give the correct amount of money, they wouldn't bother about returning your extra change. How ridiculous is that?
That means, if the smallest dollar note I have is like ten bucks, I either spend ten fucking bucks on my bus fare, or I don't take the bus at all.
At least the new bus company, Rapid Penang, has air-conditioned buses. The bus I boarded was pretty clean, too. I guess RM 1.50 isn't all that bad.
So you see, taking a bus isn't that easy after all. I'm glad I survived it.