STEWART AVENUE– It was a seemingly ordinary Saturday night when I boarded a TCAT near the Williams Lot, wearing my mask (per policy). The bus was filled with hordes of drunk freshmen who decided against making the long trek back up the hill. The night took a turn, however, when I realized just how debaucherous this crowd was. They were blasting music from their phones and loudly oversharing about the details of the night, with no regard for any social cues. They began blatantly vaping, making the whole bus reek of mango peach freeze, some of them removing their mandated masks entirely. Just as they started yelling over one another to be able to hear their multiple-sided conversations, things reached a tipping point- one of them began taking strong pulls from a dab pen. The student proceeded to try to blow smoke as discreetly as possible, but the odor could be smelt all throughout the back of the bus.
This was my breaking point. Looking around the bus, I could tell nobody cared enough about the obnoxious flouting of TCAT policy and basic social decency to do anything or speak up. I feared mob retaliation if I dared to question them. This was a group of feral freshman after all; I knew I was no match for their unearned confidence, so I decided to shift my strategy. To their credit, they did seem to be having a good time (I try to refrain from being a party pooper) helping me realize what my gameplan should be: I should break the rules and have some fun too.
I had just picked up from my guy in Collegetown and I had a pipe on me, so I figured I’d cut loose with them and have a quick smoke. I broke down the rock a little bit so as to not to spend all my money in one place and just as I took a drag, the music cut out. A squeaky voice from a few rows ahead yelled:
“Yo, is that guy smoking crack?!?”
After a brief silence the entire bus erupted into uproarious laughter. They pulled out their phones and started filming me as I sheepishly pocketed my pipe. I quickly exited the bus at the next stop, disgusted at what had just transpired on that TCAT.
Rules are rules. If you break one, you might as well break them all. If it’s okay to ignore a mask mandate or fail to observe a smoking ban, all rules are fair game to break. Sure, I myself broke the rules, but prior to personally doing so, most of the passengers on the bus had already done so. Judging me for following the standard of deviance set by existing passengers is not only hypocritical, it makes you a total buzzkill. If we’re trying to party on a TCAT, you can’t claim to be pro-party and also criticize how other partiers choose to get down. You can either respect TCAT etiquette or you can rage, but you can’t have both.