Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Missed opportunity, the rude girl and the older ladies that would have given her what-for.

The other day on the way home from the beerfest in Malloco, I watched a really unpleasant scene unfold between the conductora (female driver) of the bus and one of the passengers.

First, the situation was tense. We were all walking back on the highway away from Santiago, hoping to catch the bus before it filled up at the entrance to the beer fest. It was late, some people had been drinking quite a bit, though my friend and I had had just a little beer, and were doing just fine. One of the passengers got on the bus, about 18 years old, lowslung faded jeans, a white belt with studs, some kind of tee shirt, medium length brown hair. She insisted on paying the student rate to get home from the beer fest at 9:30 at night.

on the bus to Malloco

And the driver wasn't having it. "You're not on your way to or from school," she said. And the girl insisted, "I'm a student, I pay the student rate." This went on for a while and the driver opened her "cage" (this bus runs near Pedro Aguirre Cerda and Cerillos, and all the buses on this route have metal mesh that divides the driver from the passengers), and said, "Bájese! No sea fresca!" (Get off the bus, don't be mouthy/fresh. -in the politest possible grammatical form). The girl didn't get off and the woman said she'd call the police, but the police were all busy directing traffic and trying to prevent people from walking up the highway to catch the bus, so there was no way they'd do anything, and the girl knew it.

45 minutes drag on when you're on a bus with drunken teenagers (the drinking age in Chile is 18), practicing their English and saying filthy things to each other, and I kept on thinking about this girl, and how rude she'd been to the driver. And also how much she was shouting and being the center of attention there on the bus.

As we got closer to San Borja, say a couple of blocks out, she started heckling the driver, "Sos shora, sos shora" (basically, you think you're so cool/tough, but with the lower-class and very looked-down-upon pronunciation of chora (cool), with the initial sh- rather than ch- sound). She went on and on, using words that are considered typical of the lower class, like "nadien" instead of "nadie." You could tell she was trying on this accent for size. It's not how she usually talks, she was just trying to put the bus driver in (what she thought was) her place.

It had nothing to do with me, but I was so angry at this fresca, this girl who, upon looking at her, was comun y corriente (just a regular kid), her clothes looked like she bought them at Patronato, where cheap knockoffs, and heavy doses of lycra rule the day. Not that I think that someone from the upper class has the right to denigrate a bus driver, but it would have made more sense if she at least came from money, which her appearance indicated was not the case. Just a regular kid.

We all eventually got off the bus, and I had to restrain myself from saying something to this girl about her lack of respect for the bus driver, her friends, the rest of the passengers and herself. I felt too young, too foreign, too angry to say anything. She showed up on the metro platform with me and I purposely got in a different car so I wouldn't see her again.

And the story could end here, but yesterday I was leaving the house to meet up with an out of town guest, and I saw a group of escolares (schoolkids, this time highschoolers, and actually from Liceo La Aplicación, which is near my house, here they are protesting) being given a dressing-down by some older women, maybe 60ish.

Y es mas, usas la corbata de tu colegio, y tomas en la calle
! (And what's more, you're wearing your school tie and drinking in the street!) The kids were shrinking away from the women, but not saying anything. It went on, "Show some respect, who do you think you are, what kind of example is that for the other kids." And the kids were contrite. They apologized, and looked at the ground.

And since I love contrasts I couldn't help but compare the two situations. And wish that those ladies had been on the bus to give Ms. Mouthy a piece of their minds. And think about how sometimes, I just can't wait to get old so I can say absolutely whatever is on my mind.


Emily said...

Interesting, the students on Transantiago always pay the student rate so I think the bus driver was picking on a student (which Rodolfo has told me used to happen all the time since students meant less money for the drivers). That doesn't however mean that the driver deserved to be treated poorly. As far as your surprise at someone "común" acting that way, my suegro and other taxi drivers had told me that in general, people from the sector oriente who are more used to taking cabs are perfectly polite, whereas the problem passengers are those who rarely take taxis and think that doing so makes them the owners of the cab, free to do whatever and act however they want.

I also think that the viejas metidas in scenario number 2 were in the wrong though (what business is it of theirs if kids are drinking in uniform?), so maybe I'm just feeling particularly joven today :)

Eileen said...

I don't know the rules for usingpases escolares, but I think in the end they didn't pay at all, which is a whole nother problem.

As for the underage kids drinking on the street, I kind of feel like the viejas were in the right. Though it could also be that they were cranky and tired of living near a conflictive colegio where every week (pretty much) they're protesting in the street.

I might just be a bitter old lady. Good news? I'm ok with that! :)

Sharon said...

As long as she has her student pass with her, she pays student fare (even during some weeks in the summer). Bus drivers tend to be really nasty to students, so her reaction doesn't surprise me. But since the driver wanted to call the cops, perhaps the girl in question wasn't carrying her student pass? I don't know, the whole thing seems fishy, because the driver could get in big trouble if she gave the student any trouble.

lydia said...

interesting. i also dont think that people shoudl try to claim the student fare when they are partying. here in valpo theyre not supposed to be able to but the driver would have to call them on it and they never do.

i dont think strangers need to get in other people's business, however there are times when i think it is OK/right, and particularly so when its guiding a younger person in the right direction.

personally i have it pretty clear for certain groups and schools that i pertain(ed) to that we cant be drinking with any uniform or logo etc... for some of them i would feel ok to scold someone, even if i didnt know them, in defense of this idea...

sarabeck said...

I was going to second Lydia's comment. The only place I have seen that happen is in Valpo and usually the "student" in questions was sloshed and one time the guy didn't even had his ID! And he looked old. Riiiight...

Margaret said...

I'm not sure about the student pass on drunken weekends... in the past (ok, it's been more than 10 years), students only got student rates when they were in uniform, which this kid clearly wasn't. My daughter's school was uniform optional, and since I gave her money for a week at a time, I knew that when she ran out of the house in uniform on Thursday, she had already spent most of her week's cash!

Richard said...

This reminds me all of a sudden of a time when I was stuck in a Johannesburg traffic jam. Some fool in an expensive car came zipping down the emergency/ambulance lane because they didn't want to sit in traffic...

Until one car on the side edged out and blocked them, making sure they were just in the emergency lane enough to hold the frantic, angry, self-important fool behind them the whole traffic jam through. Eventually, cars that noticed how road justice was being administered started hooting and cheering at the spectacle of the guy who thought he could jsut zip past being made to wait like everyone else.

It brought a warm smile to my face :)

John Carr said...

I know what you mean when you say "can’t wait to get old so I can say absolutely whatever is on my mind ". If were you I wouldn’t wait that long.

Ely's Mom said...

Sounds like Miss Mouth could've used a ¨bajate ya¨! ;) It had to have crossed your mind, no?

PS. I do love the way ladies can put kids in their place.