The Disgruntled Commuter (DC) has an hour and forty minutes (each way) commute to work in Washington, DC. The DC’s commute begins with a ten minute drive to a commuter parking lot, then the DC takes a 60 minute drive on a commuter bus and finishes off with a 30 minute ride on the metro (thats if there are no accidents, back-ups, malfunctions, the bus is on time, the subway is not double tracking or stuck, OR if its not raining snowing or sleeting). The process is reversed on the trip home. This is not the DC’s first commute from hell. Previous commutes from hell include: a two year stint taking a commuter train and subway (an hour and a half each way), and twelve years driving an hour long commute each way on dangerous, clogged, nefarious, un-plowed, hellatious highways.

The DC takes commuting very seriously. While commuting, the DC prefers to catch up on sleep or read instead of being a social gadfly or chatting on the cell phone. The DC is also thrifty. Part of the DC’s uniform is an over stuffed backpack that contains lunch, water, reading material, a variety of medications for headaches, allergies, heartburn, upset stomach, and colds; in addition to antiseptic cream and band-aids. This backpack is a bone of contention to the other passengers on DC’s commuter bus. The DC prefers to remain philosophical about the back pack controversy, reasoning that the DC doesn’t hold it against other passengers for bumping, stepping on, or crowding one another with their briefcases, electronic doo-dads, or sheer girth, thus the DC should be given some slack for the back pack.

The DC is not a skinny-mini but she still manages to only occupy one seat on the bus or subway. The DC does not claim to be a fashion plate but wears clothes that actually fit her and are clean.

While on the bus, the DC finds it easier to pursue interests (sleeping) by donning a floppy hat and large sunglasses, thereby frightening the other passengers (when not annoying them with the backpack).

When not commuting or at work at Whatsa Matta U, the DC lives in a lovely pastoral community in suburban, MD. with her husband and cat

Cast of Characters

This is a list of the cast of characters I see daily during my commute from hell. I will be adding to it from time.

Jaunty: Trim, well groomed, dresses with a dash of spice. She dresses in business attire however she likes to flaunt tradition and eschews solid colors in favor of stripes and spotty patterns. Her hair is gray and shaved close to the skin except on the top of her head which is covered with a mass of silver curls. She wears an ankle bracelet. The only thing that stops her from reaching Planet Fabulous is her face, which resembles that of Florence Kling Harding’s. Will only take the bus with certain drivers.

Well Groomed: Trim and well dressed but favors more traditional business attire than Jaunty. She has a blond, shoulder length, feathered hair do which is obviously washed and styled to perfection daily (like Jaunty’s). She also wears an ankle bracelet. The only thing that mars her “well groomed” appearance is that she chews gum like a cow. Will only take the bus with certain drivers.

Miss Piggy: is well dressed and flashy and has a mass of long brown/auburn hair which is kept in place with lots of teasing and hair spray. She has a voice like a fish wife and is tubby. Her face resembles that of a pig (Thus the name Miss Piggy). She is over weight, smokes and I expect her to have a heart attack any day now (if her hair spray doesn’t catch fire on one of her cigarettes). Wears sandles or flip-flops which show off her pedicure (summer and winter!). Will only take the bus with certain drivers. Has issues with my back- pack.

Tubby: Well dressed and well groomed but is crass. She is over weight and sports a helmut of shellacked raven hair. She’s a smoker. She will race people to the bus line to ensure a better seat. Has to sit in the FRONT SEAT. When she gets on the bus, if someone is already in the front seat but the window seat is available will point at the seat and grunt so that the person will get up to let her sit down (lucky them). If she can’t get a seat up front will move up to the front when people start exiting the bus when they reach their stops. I have witnessed her flinging her huge purse over a seat to save it for her until she reaches it. Always has coffee. Will only take the bus with certain drivers. Has issues with my back- pack.

Carrie Nations: These women know their rights and will loudly proclaim them. They like to complain when things aren’t to their satisfaction such as when the bus is late, bus is early, bus ride is jerky, bus is too slow, bus is too fast, bus is too cold, bus is too hot, seats are too narrow, aisle is too narrow, etc. To register their complaints they will call the bus driver’s boss on their cell phones and speak VERY LOUDLY so everyone, including the bus driver, will hear them.

Occupational Therapy Guy: Large, conservatively dressed (shirt, tie, dress pants, wind breaker) man who sews and knits on the bus. Takes up two seats. Sits with the bus driver groupies. Is always this close to losing it. Presumably sews and knits to releave tension. Its not working.

Bus Driver Groupies: This is a group mostly made up of women but does include a few men. They know every bus driver by first name. They sit up front and chatter loudly with the bus driver. This has resulted in a few accidents. Miss Piggy, Occupational Therapy Guy and Tubby are part of this group. Jaunty and Well groomed are on the periphery of this group.

Comic Book Guy : This guy is fat and loud just like the comic book guy character from the Simpsons. Sports a goatee. Scrapes his unruly curly brown hair back into a ponty tail. Smoker. Riders are entertained by his melodic smokers cough for the entire trip. Dresses slovenly and smells. Expect him to keel over with a heart attack any day now.

Techi Dudes: Can’t be seperated from their techi stuff for any length of time. They ride the bus with cell phones (with ear pieces), blackberries, laptops, iphones, and ipods. Techie dudes usually ride the bus using all their gadgets at once. They often watch movies (Matrix, Star Wars, Transformers, Spider Man, I Robot, etc)

Nazi Dude: This guy shaves his head except for a bush of brown hair left on the top. Yuck! Wears a wind breaker (even in the winter), a long shirt, tie and dress pants and hiking shoes. Carries a gym bag.

Men in suits: These guys wear a uniform: black or navy suit, tie, black shoes, and a brief case. They wear close cropped hair with a side part. They read either the Wall Street Journal or the daily Conservative Rag. They are usually government workers. They like to complain about liberals, the liberal press, taxes, and government spending. The irony that they could quit their jobs and work in the private sector thus saving the government and tax payers a mess of money is lost on them

Lush: Short and skinny man. Mean drunk. Smokes. Smells like a brewery. Has bad breath. Is always three sheets to the wind. Likes to get in verbal clashes with the bus driver. He may already have kidney damage–and lung damage.

Phone Junkies: has to be on their cell phones the entire bus or metro trip. Talks loudly because we are all oh so interested in hearing about : their vacation, where they are going to dinner, what they’re having for diner, weekend plans, fighting with their girl/boyfriends or spouse, sweet talking girl/boyfriend or spouse, yelling at creditors, barking orders at their kids, yelling at their babysitters, religion (I actually heard some guy say this once: “We are soldiers of the Lord and we have been deployed”), unpatriotic liberals, secular humanists, grump about taxes, their doctor and dentist appointments, their condo in Ocean City or Florida or Bethany Beach, or Rehoboth Beach, their cabin in the mountains, grump about double dippers, visiting relatives, kids graduations, kids weddings, their weddings, grandchildren, kids schools, yelling at school principals, kids school activities, stupid parents, etc. Phone calls are usually riddled with expletives.

newThe Fretter: Older woman. Wears bright red lipstick She is in a continual panic that she’ll miss our bus. When a bus draws near she dashes out towards the curb shouting “is that our bus?” and squints to read the call numbers. Our bus’s call numbers are usually printed on an orange placard. No matter what the color (yellow, red, green) she still makes a mad dash to the curb. In fact she does this for city buses, tourist buses and chartered buses.

Ophelia: My cat


10 Responses to “About Me”

  1. KdMask (Karen) Says:

    OMG, hysterical.
    I smell a best seller! 🙂 I want to know what’s in Nazi Dude’s Gym Bag. heh.

  2. Julie Says:

    Anne Marie, I think you should start driving.

  3. Robin Says:

    AMH– I hate what you have to go through each day, but am glad you’ve been able to turn it in to something so funny and creative. Making lemonade out of lemons, in the best tradition.

  4. Shay Says:

    I wish my commute was half as exciting as yours. I just have an hour long drive down the interstate each way, thank goodness for audio books!

  5. Alex Says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  6. AlexM Says:

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  7. disgruntledcommuter76 Says:

    Thanks to everyone for your kind words!

  8. disgruntledcommuter76 Says:

    La la la la

  9. JoAnn Says:

    I almost peed my pants laughing. Would love to meet some of the bone heads you ride the bus with.

  10. NSyeed Says:

    Hi, I’m a reporter looking for commuters who have to come into D.C. on Inauguration Day. Do you know anyone who has to work that day? If so, they can reach me at if they’re available for a phone interview today (Tuesday). Thanks.

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