Put your foot down!

I am originally from Montreal, where courtesy and pride of place are a way of life.

An Egged bus 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
An Egged bus 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
I have been living in Israel for 21 years now, and although I have gotten used to many of the norms in this country, there is still one thing that makes my blood boil every time I see it in practice – which is all too often.
I am originally from Montreal, where courtesy and pride of place are a way of life. No one would dream of dropping any litter on the ground, and lining up for the bus is a standard procedure. In fact, it is so well ingrained in the citizens’ psyche that when a line becomes too long for one bus, a natural division takes place and the people at the end form a new line behind the first one. When the bus comes, they politely allow the first line to board the bus, and then move up to form a new line to wait for the next one.
I know, you’re laughing already, well aware that such a thing could never happen here. I know that, too, and I don’t expect it to. I have gotten used to waiting for a bus for half an hour and when it arrives – at some indeterminate spot approximating the bus stop – a bunch of people who got there two seconds before will brush past me and get on. I have learned to accept that.
But what I still cannot abide is the fact that on the bus, passengers put their feet on the seat in front of them in those double facing seats. And they don’t just put their feet up, but they grind their shoes into the edge of the upholstery – and that just infuriates me.
Where were these people brought up? What makes them think that it is acceptable to wear away the (often) new upholstery on a public vehicle? Not to mention that there is a sign right next to them that clearly says it is forbidden! It’s not a private ottoman, it’s a public autobus.
And it’s not just a certain group or type – it’s many people: men, women, yeshiva bochers, American boys, French girls and soldiers both male and female, for goodness sake! Even mothers with children.
Why does it bother me so much? Because it is public property, it’s rude, it’s crude, and it is a blatant disregard for rules and civilized behavior, and I find that offensive.
I often say something to the offenders or make a polite gesture to indicate that what they are doing is not permitted.
I think that other passengers who find it offensive should do the same. Why should we allow these people to blithely sully the buses we travel on every day? And I’m surprised that Egged lets them get away with it. These people should be fined for defacing public property. The bus company should engage monitors to patrol the buses and fine the offenders. Egged could hire me. I’d be more than glad to slap those people with a hefty fine – and give them a good slap on the wrist while I’m at it.The writer is an assistant editor and feature writer at The Jerusalem Post.