Central American Buses Aren’t Made for Adult Humans

sneak3_en_googlecalI don’t usually do this. I am a creature of habit and thus like doing things when I say I’ll do them. This is for a few reasons but mainly it’s about organization. Without previously setting aside time to do certain tasks I would let my overwhelmingly best quality to take over: procrastination.

Up until I got my first “real job” a few years ago – though most people still tell me I’ve never had a real job – procrastination was my best skill. I practiced it. I honed it. I got better at it every day. But since I’ve crossed that mythical and mysterious line into adulthood I’ve had to put my most practiced skill on the back burner and start honing my new best skill, though definitely not my favorite, of organization.

I like to know when I’m doing something and for others to know that it will be done by a certain time. Google Calendar has really helped me with this and I can attribute much of my organizational skills to that. If you don’t use Google Calendar, you really should. *This is not an advertisement for Google. But if Google is reading (whoever that is) I’m not not listening. *

So when Thursday drew the short straw of having the distinction of calling this grand publication home I didn’t anticipate posting on a non-Thursday. To me, that defeats the point of the previously noted organization. Call it crazy. Call it OCD. I also call it being extremely lazy.

Whatever it is, this post is definitely closer to the one-off variety than an obsessive compulsive habit being broken. So don’t get used to it.

As I went to San Jose on Friday for the monthly Balut night with the Danish boys, I was reminded of a topic that has been in my mind since the day I arrived in Central America. On the way back to my humble beach casita yesterday, a blog post was finally determined to be the end result. The issue: Central American buses are not made for adult humans.

legroomThough I don’t consider myself an overly tall person I am certainly not short. In American speak, I am five foot eleven. In Canada we use the metric system, sort of, but due to our ongoing association complex this doesn’t extend to the amount of vertical space a person contains. As a result I don’t know how tall I am in metric – though I remember people estimating that I fall in somewhere around 1.80 metres/meters. But I digress.

Height was never an issue for me in Canada. 5’11 seems to be a normal height to be able to comfortably carry out any day-to-day activity. In Central America this is not the case. For reasons more complicated than I’ve been able to figure out, the average person in this region is shorter than in North America. Whether correlated or not, that theme extends to the size of the public buses. Not the physical size of the bus; just the space inside that is idealistically allotted to a given individual.

Every time I get on a bus I’d much rather stand than sit. While most of the time this makes me look like a complete gentleman – giving up a seat to a nice young lady – my motives are elsewhere. The space between seats (see: legroom) makes economy class on Delta seem private jet-ish. They’re not even built for a shorter class of people; I see Ticos struggle with this complex just as much as I do. If the target market were sixth grade field trips I would congratulate bus companies for hitting the nail right on the head.

Since I’ve moved to the beach the bus ride to and from San Jose is longer than standing would permit. Having a seat is essential on the trip that can take two hours. Or three. Sometimes four. Yesterday I was one of the lucky ones who got a seat. Lucky in that I was able to cram my knees into the back of the person in front of me for the entire trip as the person standing in the aisle next to me – let’s call her unlucky in this case – stood, my shoulder on one hip, another nice looking stranger on the other, while gripping the top of my seat for stability on the roller coaster ride that is Costa Rican highways.

Lucky (see: me) was fortunate to have her hips massaging my right shoulder with every turn as my left was used as a pillow for the sweet, but asleep, gentleman to my right. My knees seemed jealous of the attention my shoulders were getting as they were barking more than usual as the back of the nice lady in front of me continually let them know of her presence.

Once off the bus it usually takes me a few steps to get going. I’m sure I look like a baby deer learning to walk. At least this way I have a memory of my journey.

Taking the bus is a necessary inconvenience. It’s also one that, even over time, doesn’t get easier. The buses here are old enough to perhaps be from a time when the human race was much shorter in general; I would accept that. But, given the year we’re in, maybe it’s time for a redesign. For adult humans in 2013, these buses are no good.

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