Don't be surprised when... You are standing at the bus stop and see man trying to get on the bus by taking a running start, throwing himself onto the single toe-hold on the bottom step and bouncing off the solid wall of people. Then don't be surprised when, after he has tried to do this a few times, two people try to hold him in from the outside the bus and two people try to hold him in from the inside of the bus. At this point at least five people yell "Close the door, close the door!" and try to get their hands out of the way in time for the door to close. It reminded me a bit of trying to close a suitcase that is far too full, and having to coordinate holding the clothes and closing the lid without pinching fingers. I had to wonder what would happen at the next stop when the door opened again.
Don't be surprised when... As you are trying to squeeze off the bus before the driver starts driving again, you hear the person you are squishing past make the sound of someone who has just landed on their lungs from a height. Then you might hear a breathless "Kuai yidianr ba!" ("Hurry up will ya!").
Don't be surprised when... You hear the man standing next to you on the crowded bus starts snoring in your ear. You might be curious to look at see if he really is sleeping standing up, but his face is a little too close to yours. However, when the driver slams on the breaks you hear him making the noise of one who is startled awake.
Don't be surprised when... You feel something wet brush over your lips.
Don't be surprised when... You get stuffed into a very uncomfortable position with a stranger. You might perhaps end up with your chin over someone's shoulder (because of pressure from behind) in a sort of "spoon" position. It reminds me of our MCC orientation. We were given a scenario of riding a crowded bus, and feeling someone's hand in a questionable place and asked if we would think it was sexual harassment. At the time I said a definitive yes, but now that I have been put in countless similar compromising positions, many times as the "aggressor", I wonder how many people in China feel that they have been sexually harassed by some strange blond foreign girl.
Don't be surprised when... You want to get off the bus, but the passengers getting on the bus have the unstoppable energy of a horde of Spaniards during the Running of the Bulls. Better luck next stop.
Don't be surprised when... You see someone vomiting into a clear bag.
Don't be surprised when... This causes others to follow suit.
Don't be surprised when... You realize that it is not always the best thing to have firm footing and a good handhold. This is the recipe for becoming the only support for about five other people who don't have firm footing and a good handhold. There are times when the best thing to do is flow like water.
It is at times like this that we remind ourselves that riding the bus costs less than $0.08. I caught an unexpected glimpse of my face in the bus window today and realized that the rest of the people must think they are riding the bus with an Iron Maiden. I suppose the best summary of my face would be (in Pa Ingalls' words) "Keep a stiff upper lip!".