Friday, August 13, 2010

My Beef With The Bus and Other Things: A Rant

If you exist on the Brussels side of my life, then you've probably heard me going on about the bozos they have designing the busses around here.  The newfangled busses are great with the computer screens listing and updating the stops, but the seat placements are the pits.  My two major beefs are position and size.... for seats on the bus, seats on the bus!  ba-dum!

First, who actually LIKES to ride backwards??  If you don't find it nauseating (as I often do), at least you notice that it's harder to see where you're going (as opposed to where you've just come from... say, wasn't that my stop?) and identify where you need to get off.  Oh right... but they've got those computer monitors to help you... but not in all cases.


This is facing forward on the bus.  The monitor is facing me--not the poor saps seated backwards.  What good is this?

But I think the most bozo (loving that word today) thing about the seats oriented backward is that they could be facing forward.  Is someone trying to create conversation pods, encouraging sweaty and surly strangers to strike up conversation in any of the languages in use here?  Careful, bus designers, those strangers might get acquainted tout de suite when the one forced to ride backward ralphs on the front-facer.  Did you think about that, bozo?

I mean, look at this!  Those seats could face forward, too!  What happened to rows of seats on a bus?  What was so wrong with that arrangement?  I am not anti-social, that's for sure, but the bus is not where I choose to make a new friend.

Which leads me to bus beef, part 2:

The king chair.  Look at this man luxuriating (as much as one can whilst riding backward) in a seat that's almost (just *almost*) a double-wide.  And that's the problem.  It's NOT a double-wide.  If it were two seats' wide, then two people could sit there.  But it's not.  Is it a seat for fat people?  I hardly think they'd design a bus for girthier folks when there are so few here.  Is it a seat for couples?  Please.  I've seen couples make out in all sorts of positions on these busses, they don't need a special seat to spark it up.

It's just a damn awkward seat wherein you feel haughty because you are but one person (who's not overweight) taking up a larger spot than you need.  (I try to splay my bag out, to cover more seat here.)  Or you feel like a weirdo because oops you sat down next to someone you were--until then--not acquainted with and now you're playing the up front/lean back coordinated-share-the-chair game to minimize thigh/rump touching because you don't want to get right back up and risk offending them or, really, showing that you made a mistake and mucked up your seat choice.  Well, that's how I felt when I plopped down next to an old man in a king chair on a crowded bus once, anyway.

But enough about the busses.  Let's talk about bread:

This baguette is clearly longer than its bag.  Happens all the time.  The bread can't be fully contained.  So what do you do when you're checking out at the grocery and meant to lay everything down on the dirty-ass belt?  What is the etiquette there?  I held mine until the very last minute when I had to set it down (so the checker didn't think I was trying to run off with it), so I propped it up on some other groceries.  And then came home and cut off the what-I-now-saw-as-questionable overhang.  This bothers me, yes, it really does.  (Sometimes I think my germophobia has progressed to the level of that of an uptight gay man.)  But I know some people that this sort of food-on-dirty-public-conveyor-belt issue would put over the *edge* (two of whom are gay men, though not entirely uptight).  But still, we all can agree that they should just make some damn longer bags!  It's not like they've started making baguettes longer for 2010.  It's a pretty standard bread length.

Which brings me to a foul fish:

This fish has many aliases.  Here it is marked as "Pegasus Fish"... but that's actually a mis-title because true Pegasus fish is endangered (And known as the Dragon Sea Moth, of which there is some choice video of it slithering across the ocean bottom on YouTube.  Yeah, there's fish footage on YouTube.  And yeah, I watched it.  I have time to kill these days!), but it's also known as Basa, White Catfish, Tra, Grey Sole, and Vietnamese River Cobbler... which leads me to the why I chose not to buy it before I knew all about it.  Did someone say VIETNAMESE River Cobbler.  And where am I?  Belgium?  Where I can get all sorts of yummy fish from the North Sea or the Mediterranean?  That ended my relationship with the fish-of-many-names then and there.  Of course, I went home to look up the "English" name for this fish (it's part of my meat/fish roulette fun these days), and that's when I stumbled upon this and this.  That's right, hormones, antibiotics, contaminated water.... sick, sick, SICK.  It seems like we're on to this in the States and keep an eye on Vietnam playing fast and loose with their fish exports.  But stay vigilant people, lest the Basa cobble its way into your life (and you onto your toilet).  Yuck.

And I'll end with a lost cat poster I snapped today:

Sorry it's blurry;  there was a nice breeze today.  This may be one of the most poetic lost cat posters I've yet seen: 

Pitchounette... Elle raffole des boites de thon et des croquettes et boit pas mal.  Elle est en parfaite sante.... Recompense:  une bouteille de champagne.

Her name is Pitchounette... and (pardon my butchered translation) she likes tuna and croquettes and drinks well and is in good health.  But my favorite part is the reward:  a bottle of champagne.  I think I'll really keep an eye out for this one.