The Habitus of Entitlement

The 93 Bus coming from Cal State Long Beach approaches.

7:10 or so at the Library stop.

I scoop up my bag and struggle for my bike.

As I approach the bus, It seems like I've dropped something. A split second later with an ultra-quick survey of the concrete sidewalk, it just sounds like my headphones from my iPod hitting the ground, so I assume I haven't lost anything. I can't really check; there's no time! I've got to still load up my bike, get on, and find my student ID to swipe for my ride home to Lakewood.

I load my bike, with some difficulty lifting the holding latch.

I hastily move in, let one gentleman pass, locate my ID in my pouch, and swipe my ID card.

I survey the seats available, looking for a seat up front to watch my bike. Usually these are the seats facing forward, looking the direction forward.

The only available seats are either in the back of the bus or the three seats at the very front facing the direction sideways open to anyone, but are prioritized for seniors and the handicapped. Of those three seats available, there is a seat occupied by a woman on crutches and she is seated behind the bus driver.

Usually I'd like to give people their space, especially this handicapped woman, and I would have sat on the edge of the third seat, leaving the middle seat open.

Impinging upon that third seat is one guy sitting forward who has his foot up on the leftmost seat facing sideways. A young white man with a crew cut.

I attempt to sit down, expecting that out of common courtesy this young man would remove his foot from the seat and allow me to sit.

Nope. He kept his foot there.

I sit in between the middle chair and the third chair, uncomfortable.

He kept listening to his music on his phone, defying what I thought was common courtesy.

I was tempted to take a picture of his foot with my shnazzy iPhone and post his stupidity on here, but I didn't pull the trigger.

After 5 minutes and some bus stops where my right leg is about to touch his well-rested foot, he reluctantly budges as I hear him sigh, retracting his foot and instead of putting it on the seat, butting it against the side of the seat.

About 5 more minutes later at a stop, after people have gotten off and on, the bus driver from his seat calls out "young man, could you please remove your foot off the chair."

I look around quickly and instantly get happy because it appears he's talking to this white guy.

"Young man, young man..." the bus driver repeats till this guy takes his headphones off and realizes he's being talked to.

"Young man, could you please remove your foot off the chair. Thank you."

I wanted to clap and breathe an air of relief.

The white guy removes his foot, saying "Oh geeze" and reluctantly slumps forward looking like he's ready to bomb or Dylan Klebold the bus full of ethnic people.

I get scared of what this guy might do, as he was slumping forward still, aggressively not allowing enough space for me to sit on that third seat and sitting somewhat still as if focused, ready to premeditate something. It felt like his eyes were burning into me, much in the same way that eyes were burning into me when I got assaulted on the Metro by the schizophrenic.

About 2 minutes later, the bus driver at another stop, walks back to my part of the bus and tells another young man, behind lil Dylan Klebold, this time a black guy to "take his foot off the chair." The young black guy obliges.

Two more minutes later, the next stop comes and lil Dylan Klebold makes his way to exit the bus, but not without giving someone who thanks the bus driver a dirty look.

After he exits the bus, he walks slowly staring back in through the windows. He even looks back inside as if looking for revenge. How dare we take away his foot-resting privileges and try to do something as civil as sitting down.

He vanishes into the night. Once he's out of sight.

The black guy and I exchange a knowing smile and a headshake: WTF was that about.