Taking the Bus - as told through anxiety

Step 1: Waiting for the Bus

The bus is coming. Oh shit do I have the bus pass in my hand? Am I sure that this is the bus pass and not the phone? Okay, it is. Is the bus still coming? Yes, it is, okay. Phew. It's coming fast. I might miss it if I don't take a few steps closer to it even though I'm pretty obvious, standing at a bus stop with a bus pass in my hand. What if the bus driver is rude? What if I mess up and the beep doesn't beep because it didn't accept my bus pass? What if I waste the driver's time by trying again? It's really close now, shit. What if there are no seats and I have to stand with my stupidly heavy backpack that takes up too much space so that no one can pass me in the aisle? God, this bus is fast. Shit, what if I know someone on there and they see how dumb I am when I screw up with the bus pass thing and someone yells at me that I am in their way? That person's gonna hold that against me for the rest of my life and they're gonna think I'm the stupidest and awkwardest person. My chest feels so tight. I don't want to go on this bus anymore. Why didn't I just walk? Take off my sunglasses and put them on my head so I can see better on the bus so I don't screw up as much. Take one arm of my backpack off so that I can easily get it off when I'm on the bus. It's here. Oh, God. Here we go.


Step 2: On the Bus

Okay, step on. I didn't trip. Cool. Good job, Em. Smile and say something nice to the driver. I think I'm saying “good morning” but my eyes are so focused on the damn bus pass machine to really pay attention. I never make eye contact. I never see their face because the damn buss pass machine is the priority. Okay, it's taking a while. I'm standing awkwardly waiting for it. Shit, it didn't beep. Where's the beep? I'll try again. Shit. Whyyyyyyy? Okay, he's annoyed. He's waving me off. Okay, say “thank you” and run away. Can't look at anyone. Find a seat. Where's a seat? There's a seat. Tackle that goddamn seat before anybody else gets it. I. Will. Not. Stand. All right. Swing the backpack off. Glad I took that one arm off before. Shit the strap thingies hit the pole and it made that super loud ding noise as usual. Now everybody thinks I'm a stupid klutz. Okay sit and look pretty so they forgive me. All right, they're looking at me. Just pretend I'm too good to look back. Look serious and intense like I've got a lot on my mind – psh, like I ever have too much on my mind. Okay, I'm in the back and I'm not in one of those stupid couples seats so I don't have to worry about when the person has to get up and leave. I can just sit and listen to my music. Take my silly little pink iPod shuffle out and unwind the ear buds off of it and just endure the torture of people judging my silly little pink iPod shuffle that's at least 6 years old. Okay. Ear buds in, turn on the iPod, make sure it's not loud enough for others to hear – just to be safe turn it down to barely audible so that people don't listen to my weird music. I'm safe now. Now I can think. Let my mind wander. Let the music swim through my body and calm the tsunami within. Breathe.


Step 3: Getting off the Bus

Time to get off. The university stop's coming up. To look cool, I'll be the one to pull the signal. Yes, now people look at me and I look like a mature grown up for taking initiative. Approval. Nice. All right, people are getting up. What's the easiest way of getting this backpack on my arm and around my back? Gotta plan this out. Okay, I think I got it. Shit it made that ding noise against the pole again. Goddammit I'm an idiot. It's fine. Move on. Find my rhythm. Get in line. Cool. If I'm feeling bold, yell “thank you” to the driver because everybody needs a little reassurance. If I can't muster up the courage today, that's fine. Just stay quiet. That's okay, too. Sometimes silence is golden.


I did it! I'm on campus!

Now to tackle the rest of the day. Why am I so tired? Oh God, the sun's in my eyes but I look weird pulling my sunglasses down. Does my walk look 'busy' enough? How much time do I have till my next class? Okay, better get there at least 15 minutes early, giving me 3 minutes of free time. What am I doing for lunch? Better text a friend. And how about dinner?....