“Do you have anything in that cup?”
It took me a second to answer because 1) I was wearing headphones, 2) I had said hi with a weird grin because 3) I am never sure if I have enough money on my bus pass. But the driver pointed to my mug again, and I unplugged one earbud.
“Oh, yes it’s just coffee.”
“Just” as opposed to what, exactly, I don’t know, but last week some guy popped open a bottled beer inside an actual paper bag like a 1920s hobo on a train, so at least not that.
“You need to have a lid.”
“I’m not going to spill it…”
“That’s what they all say.”
I laughed a little because do they all say that? Also I was trying to lighten the mood because the bus was already ten minutes late, I could feel myself getting angry about nonsensical rules, and I didn’t have a lot of options left to get to work on time if I got kicked off the bus.
“Next time I can’t let you on the bus without a lid.”
“OK,” I said. But I didn’t say it in a nice way. I said it like I was 15 and in trouble for talking too much in class, which I have a lot of practice saying while rolling my eyes. I wish I had more practice saying effective and adult things, like, “how is this more of a problem than the man eating an onion salad on the Sunday bus?”
But alas, I spent the rest of the ride preemptively clutching my almost-empty, air-temperature coffee in a reusable mug because I’m trying to save the planet, worried both that I would spill it by accident or reflexive spite, and that I would be banned from Culver City busses for life.
Of course there are rules, otherwise public transit would be a seething pit of sticky messes and everyone would slosh on, solo cup in hand. And yet I have legitimately seen a woman clip her toenails on the bus, and one time I sat in Doritos.
This is where I’m supposed to tell you how yoga makes you a better person who never gets angry, but the indignity of a double standard will get me every time. Being fired up about something isn’t inherently bad, and has created many and important waves of change throughout history.
This is not one of those times though, and it is equally important to check in with how a singular, personal convenience relates to the bigger picture. I don’t particularly care about having to use a lid on my mug. I just hate being told what to do.
“I’m not four, I don’t need a sippy cup,” I explained to my friend after I got off the bus in a huff.
“Wait, you don’t have a lid for your mug?”
“That’s not the point.”
“Yeah, but what happened to it?”
“I dropped it on the ground and it shattered.”
But like, we can all agree on the toenails, right?