By Betsy Bradford

I hate riding the bus. I like saving money on gas and parking, and it's nice to avoid the stress of commuting in heavy traffic, but what gets to me is the way people act on the bus. Step aboard, and all normal societal rules melt away, leaving you to struggle valiantly to survive to your final destination.

To be more accurate, the bus isn't a completely anarchistic society, but the rules seem strange and arbitrary. For example, don't sit next to someone you don't know if there's an empty seat. That's just creepy. But on the other hand, you should never give up your seat. Ever. It doesn't matter if the other person is on crutches, or if they're a young mother with a child on one arm and a stroller on the other. You boarded the bus first. They can stand.

I really think there should be an etiquette for standing up on the bus. Since there isn't one, I'll just make one (I think modest) request: put your freaking phone away! If you're standing on a crowded vehicle moving down the road at 35 mph, you should consider holding onto something. I can't tell you how many people I've seen clutching their iPhone while plummeting into their neighbor, nary an apology on their lips, probably texting: "ZOMG! Teh bus just went around a corner and I totz fell in2 sum guy! Lolz."

Along those lines, why do people so rarely apologize? One morning, I felt what I thought was someone tapping me on the shoulder. I turn around to see a woman elbowing my repeatedly while digging through her bag. It's not that I've never bumped into someone by accident, but I generally say "Oops, I’m sorry," and go on my way. I don't ignore them and then continue hitting them.

And what's with eating on the bus? I wash my hands immediately after getting off the bus. I'd never eat in that germ boat, but that doesn't stop other people. I've seen people eat full breakfasts, including yogurt, bagels, and coffee. Most people eat smaller things, but that doesn't make it any more palatable. My personal favorite was the young man who ate a handful of nuts, licked his palm, and then grabbed the bar. Thanks a lot, buddy. I guess I should just be glad he wasn;t texting.

Another personal favorite is people who refuse to move all the way to the back of the bus when the bus is crowded. Most people do, but every now and then someone who decides, "Nah, this is far enough," and stands in the middle of the bus, creating a veritable human dam in the aisle. I saw this very behavior earlier today. There was a line of people outside in the rain hoping to get onto the bus, but there wasn't room because one guy refused to budge.

I’m not suggesting we write an Emily Post-style manual for bus riding, because I think that we should be able to do better without one. Failing that, I want to propose one basic rule for riding the bus: don't be a dick. It's a good rule for all of life, really.