Tag Archives: school

On the Road: Taking the Bus

As I am currently not driving that often with my car – except this week I in fact was, but only for familial visits – I thought I might as well write about my other means of transportation: The Bus; or more precisely: The City Bus.
One of several possibilities of public transport that probably shows a similar attitude towards its passengers in all kind of cities in all regions of the world. It is somewhat like trams and underground railways, just with a different atmosphere due to its seat layout. Well, and the attitude people have towards it is probably pretty similar everywhere as well.
Anyway, I’d like to talk a bit about my experiences with these things.

Helpful but untimely

I have to say if you do not have a car – or a proper place to park your car or the money to pay the gasoline bill that comes from too often using said car – public transportation can be pretty helpful.
That is, if their timing is right…
Using public transportation means, you are bound to take them at a certain time and not whenever you feel like it. They have a fixed schedule and nothing will change said schedule.
Not even standing right before closed doors of the vehicle and asking for entrance and the driver SEES that you do so and refuses to let you in, but never mind.
They’re a good thing for reducing costs for gasoline and the traffic in general, but there are quite a bunch of problems accompanying them. The City Buses in the German cities where I have actually used them look pretty similar: They’re either Articulated Buses or a normal version of those. The inside depends on how young/old the bus is. If it is a young one you have a huge area for baby buggies and wheel chairs. (Basically meaning: The younger a bus, the more spacious is this area and the less seats you have.)
Still, depending on when you use the bus, this area and the whole bus is pretty much cramped.

Annoying changes

But this is a thing that the bus company in my city kind of just re-invented…
When I returned from studying in the end of last year they had made some pretty annoying and ridiculous changes.
First of all: All people – except those that would use the area(s) mentioned above – had to enter through the first door. This caused people to either just stand around in the front of the bus, so you had to squeeze your way through them or actually walk to the back of the bus as the company had „planned“.
The second thing was: You have to show the driver your ticket, every freaking time you enter the bus.
This however was not as publicly noted as the entrance change had been.
While the first had posters on the bus itself, the second had a hand out for about a week or so – of course a week where I was NOT taking the bus.
So I just entered like always without taking out my ticket and the driver just grabbed my arm and rudely told be to take out the ticket.
As I complained that it was at the bottom of my bag pack, he stayed stubborn. Furthermore, a woman that stood just behind his booth chimed in and told me that everyone had to do this. When I told them that this never stood anywhere she told me that there had been a hand out before. I just grumbled that I hadn’t been there to get that information.
This of course all took place while I rummaged through my bag pack for the annual ticket that by now costs more then one month of my rent.
It is not surprising that my mood that morning was even worse than before as I am not that much of a morning person. A fellow student of mine had to suffer through my tirade back then, but sometimes you just have to let out the bad emotions to come to peace.
Well, or at least stay calm for the next things to follow.
Oh, and they did all these changes for our safety no less! And of course every now and then there are still the patrols to check if all the tickets, that have been shown to the driver – or not if he was not busy cashing other people while you walked in – are correct/existing…
Everything for our safety…suuure…stumbling through the cramped bus, long time-consuming lines at the entrance where everyone squeezes in at the same time and hurried bus drivers that don’t care if the (older) people already found their seats or that there is a speed limit…but I digress…

The Crowd

Taking the bus in the morning however leaves me with three choices, where my sleepiness more or less decides which evil I pick:
– Mainly noisy, annoying school-kids, some sleepy adults, annoying teenagers
– less school-kids, more awake and talkative adults and teenagers or
– quite a bunch of loud, crying, screaming, annoying babies and children and still the adults and some teenagers
If you do not have your music player with you, the ride can be pretty nerve-wrecking. Especially if there are other people that also listen to music but way louder than you or the driver tries to find a fitting radio station and so forth.
Well, I was once the person with the far too loud music, but I wasn’t used to listening via my mobile phone and another passenger had to inform me about the drivers complains. Though I am sure he didn’t really notice WHAT I was listening, as that would have been even more awkward (*cough* it was Edguy’s Sex, Fire, Religion *cough*). Though thinking about this, I never really saw a bus driver ask for quieter music again, even if there were some pretty loud ones, might have been the late hour…
Anyway, a bus ride can be fun too (except all those things above). You can meet interesting people or coincidentally meet pals and/or colleagues.
There are also people that simply greet me because we saw each other time and time again in the bus. There even was a woman for a short time, whose toes I nearly stepped on every time I stood up… >_<
Beside that there are two stories that are somewhat funny regarding this.
The first is about a member of the „group“ I am more or less a part of: I saw her every now and then at the bus, before I met her through the group. I thought the whole time that she looked familiar, that I have seen her somewhere before, but I just couldn’t remember where. When I saw her again at the bus after one of the groups celebrations I actually recognized her and realized that it was the bus where I had seen her before. 😀 By now I saw three people of the group in the bus and depending on the mood and how talkative we felt, we even conversed.
The second story is about a girl that I saw reading in the bus. I always thought about talking to her as she mostly read Fantasy stories, but I never really had the guts to do so. Well, one day I just seated myself beside her and she started a conversation, telling me that she had seen me reading as well…
By now we had one or the other weird bus ride, with me being grumpy and only half-awake and her being far too lively and loud  for my sleepy mind, but it is still fun and a better way to wake up then screaming kids…

But not everything is bad about buses

As I said it can be fun with people you know, but it also gives you time to wake up some more before work. You can close your eyes again and doze off for a short time. Or as I occasionally do: You can scribble down a story/idea that has been on your mind throughout the morning/night/day. I’ve gotten quite used to writing while the bus is bumping through the streets. Though this does not mean I always am able to decipher what I wrote…
Additionally it gives you time to think. You also have that time in the car, but you do have to pay a little more attention while driving, just a tiny bit more. 😉
Think about said ideas, think about what you would need to do that day and so forth….or just listening to the music that is currently playing and let your mind wander…
See there is good to taking the bus. 😉
I don’t really know much about City Buses in other cities – only those I went with – but I guess the perception of other people is not that much different from my own. Everyone is happy to get out of the bus again, unless you have something to write or talk about and would like to continue that.
But what I know a little about are the Intercity Buses in my region: They only drive very rarely (once a day being often) and take long. Would I take such a bus for driving home it’d take twice the time as if I’d take my car, not to get started on the prices….
In bigger cities you also have trams and underground railways. I always get confused about which ticket would be the best for me to buy or which way to take, having people around to show you the way is a pretty helpful thing here 😉
And speaking of underground railway: I’ve read (and saw) in Clive Barkers story from the Books of Blood about some pretty interesting inhabitants of the New Yorker underground railway in the Midnight Meat Train that I do like to mention whenever I take such a means of transport. 😀 (This story even has an interesting watch-tale that I might write about it at a later point.) Am I right to believe that  no one has actual prove of that? 😉
And on a completely different note: This Blog now has a FaceBook Page as well: RandomPoison on FaceBook and if you don’t want to follow this Blog via WordPress, you can keep up to date through that side as well.
PoiSonPaiNter

Improvement

When I looked through some old stuff today I discovered something incredible: My English used to be sooo bad only a few years ago…well there would still be worse people, but I was quite shocked when I read some of my old essays for my English classes during Vocational High School…
And I even still have an old story of mine already typed from that time to prove this. And I have to admit that I used to be „proud“ of what I’ve written, but now I just am laughing at it the all the way through…it’s sooo bad… XD
So. if you dare to find out, where I started with my story-writing skills in about 2008, just read on. (Well, we had four pictures and then to write a story according to what they portrayed, so we did not have much space for imagination.)
On a side note: I think it still has all the spelling errors in it as well…or I added typing errors…probably both…
If you are not brave enough, just scroll down to my continued rant below it 😉

Monopoly
It’s a friendly, peaceful day. The sky is blue, only some clouds are hanging around in the sky. Ignorant people do their egoistic things in a world full of hate.
A woman is walking out of the door of a bank. She’s sad. She lost her job and won’t get any more credits. She isn’t noticing any cars on the street. A moment earlier an other woman came out of this bank. She’s self-confident and proud and she’s in a snit! A banker wasn’t friendly to her. The third woman is gazing at the bank and surveying the situation. May she’s planing something. In front of her there is a man. He seems to be very sad and he’s walking very slowly. His eyes are looking at the bank with every step he’s making. Looking, looking away, looking, looking away, etc. The second man is walking in the opposite direction as the other guy is doing. This man is looking at the starring girl. She’s nodding. The man is answering with a nod. Something strange is going on here.
All of these people had been disappearing in a few seconds, so that the streets are empty now. A second car is arriving. Three guys are getting out of it. They are wearing masks, even you can describe it as only some black ties in front of their mouths. For the last time they’re looking over the street. There’s a little discussion between them, if it’s the right moment, but this isn’t of much interest. Now they are going into the bank.
The people in the bank aren’t noticing those strange guys. Suddenly they are realizing, that this is a bank robbery, because one of the guys was making a shot in the air. After this everyone is shocked for a while. The bank robbers are going straight through the masses to the lady behind the window. The boss of the robbers is just saying: “Give the money!” As self-confident as it’s possible for her in such a situation she’s answering: “We only have some banknotes here! The rest is in the safe deposit!” “Then open it!”, the robber is becoming nervous. “I don’t know the combination and I’m unable to find out what it is!”, she is answering relaxed. “Why aren’t you able?!”, the man is screaming now. In this moment another woman is sinking on the floor. Someone of the witnesses is screaming: “Help her!” One of the guys is a friendly one, but also a very naive. He is going to help her. Suddenly she’s starring straight into his eyes, taking his gun and kicking his ass, so that he is falling on the floor. In the same moment the lady behind the window is hitting the distracted guys in front of her.
So these to tough girls adjusted the bank robbers and got an award by the police for their courage. The bank robbers went straight to prison, without getting any money. And if they didn’t get acquitted, so they even sit imprisoned!
© As horrible as the story might be: It still is my intellectual property and therefore is only allowed to be used with my permission.

Now as you might have read this horrid peace of written work, you might understand why I wanted to improve my skills. And seeing as I myself can tell that the stuff above is bad, makes me believe that I actually have improved over the last few years.
I would even dare to say greatly improved.
But as improvement has it, it only comes with time and practice and I can say that I practiced quite a bit. Classes during A-Level did little, though I had to write even more than before, but my classes during studying indeed did their part. While I only had German natives teaching me foreign languages before, I now had English-natives as teachers. Beside that I also had started reading Manga in English and watching Animes with English subtitles and so on. I didn’t really sat down and studied that much, I just learned it while using it. It’s far easier that way.
By now I watch series and movies in English, read stuff and write all this stuff here on this page (posts and stories) and on fanfiction.net, translate the stuff for our posts on dfppentertainment.wordpress.com and even try to improve my speaking skills by recording my Fanfics – though that’s a work in a really slow progress. And if you still not believe that I have improved, just look through this blog and read some more. For example my dwarve-story The Quest for Ore, to have a comparison to how I write stories these days. 😉
But don’t think my writing skills in German were much better in the beginning…no, they clearly weren’t…but they were even funnier…there is a story of mine from second or third grade about a horse that befriends itself with a kangorooh (kangaroo) from the far away continent Australia, where everyone speaks backwards…because Australia is on the other side/half of the Earth, you know? 😀 Oh, the logic of an eight year old kid… 😀
Anyway, I’d like to improve my skills even further, especially my speaking skills, and not forget this incredible language – as I mostly did with Russian, which I would like to re-learn. But I can’t say, if I actually be able to do either of that.
I’m still going to try.
Who knows, maybe in a couple of years I’m looking back at this and think the exact same thing I did, when looking through my old school stuff. 😀
PoiSonPaiNter
Oh, by the way: The last lines, the so-called „punchline“ of the story was supposed to be the translation of the Monopoly go-to-jail-card, thus explaining the title. 😉

Milestones

Every large enough project needs to be split into several phases: Each phase ending with a milestone. A kind of sign post that tells you: This is done, let’s move on.
And as life itself is one of the largest projects there are it does have some as well. As it ranges from childhood, over the teenage years, up until adulthood and beyond.
When you are young you don’t really care about your milestones. You just care about things children do, like playing, your favourite food/toys, etc.. But your parents care. They celebrate every little thing you do. Your first steps, your first words, the first birthdays and so on.
The first big milestones you have as child is entering/leaving nursery school, kindergarten (In some places in Germany you have two parts of the nursery school: “Kinderkrippe” and “Kindergarten” that’s why I split it) and entering elementary school.
From then on out the steps become bigger.
When it only took weeks, months or a few years to accomplish them before, it now takes three to six years and more.
Explaining the German school system is tricky. Especially as a lot has changed since I left it. But when I went through it I passed three milestones: Finishing Elementary School (“Grundschule”), Secondary School (“Realschule”) and Grammar School/ (Vocational) High School (“(Fach)Gymnasium”).
Those years weren’t really what a kid/teenager would have liked to experience, but that kind of made me who I am: A pessimistic, weird loner. 😉
An always interesting thought process is that when you are still in the system you want to get out of it. But when you have actually left it, you understand that those years were way easier than anything life throws at you when you’re done with school. And you realize all these adults that told you “One day you will miss school!” were right. Well, I don’t really “miss school” I just miss the spare time I had thanks to the short schedules and stuff. You could do so much more in one day…
Since I started studying in a dual-mode course of study in 2009 spare time was (occasionally) there, but so was stress. Studying in this system means you don’t have semester breaks. Because if you do, you have to work. Work for the company that gives you your paycheck and also pays for your education. That leaves you with 24 to 30 vacation days a year to recuperate. Direct studies aren’t that much different to this by now, but I still think it is different though. As you have a company that wishes to see good – if not the best – results of you. Both in studies and at work.
And with a certain amount of stress neither is really achievable – at least not without paying a high price for it. And I don’t mean bribing the lecturers. 😀
Throughout those years I had to re-experience things that I hoped would have gotten better as the people would be more mature. But I was soon proven wrong. People prefer uniformity and despise everything that is different. It had looked well in the first semester, but it then went downhill.
I had a pretty low phase in my fourth semester, where I didn’t want to continue and in the end failed 4 of the 6 exams that term. Being used to school standards with somewhat easy and divided possibilities to gain your final mark this feels like a stab in the chest every time you see the red mark in the overview.
Failure was my steady companion throughout this time.
I needed a second try in quite a bunch of exams unfortunately.
But I think most of it was because of my mental state and the little time we had for learning and during the exams. Five exams in one week is not really the nicest thing to push onto a student.
I’m not proud of my failings nor the marks I got in the end, but I managed to pass every last one of them.
It is what you gain from failing that forms your character. You can rise from your ashes and manage to do it the next time or just stop trying and let the whole thing drag you down even further.
Even though I have the tendency to drag myself down for a while after a failure at some point I start doing what has to be done regardless of that. As I am too stubborn and proud to just give up.
And I wanted to at several points.
But failure wasn’t my only company.
There also were people that stayed with me every now and again.
I am horrible with making friends and staying friends with people I meet and like. It takes time for me to actually trust people and see/refer to them as “friends”.
They’re mostly pals, fellow students, colleagues and whichever other word you can use for describing a non-friend.
But that’s just how complicated a person I am. 😉
And regardless of how I refer to them, those that are dear and important to me know that they are, at least I hope they do.
But what do people have to do with milestones?
People help us accomplish our milestones. They show us a different path or put obstacles in our way, make us re-think our strategies or assist us in overcoming our troubles and most importantly give us new strength to carry on.
As much as I despise the treatment I had to ensure throughout the years.
There were always a few people that stuck with me.
That I could talk to for hours and not get the slightest bit bored or annoyed.
People that I really enjoy/ed spending time with.
As I said, I am not that good at keeping friends, given my pessimistic nature, but I try.
So I am grateful for all the people that crossed my path and walked with me for a while.
I don’t know how often I will be able to meet some of them again and not lose track of them. As I kind of did with so many other people.
But those few I am currently thinking of helped me through the last semesters (and exams).
They talked some sense into me when I was down or unrealistic or just provided entertainment, great conversations and company. They helped me to strive for better marks again, so that I managed to even get some really good ones in some of the last exams.
And given a little more time I even might be able to achieve what they already managed to do recently – my next milestone:
Obtaining my Bachelor’s degree.
One day I will have it as well!
Without the fancy robe and the official ceremony, but I will have it! 😀
And all this above is the reason I should not write blog posts when I’m feeling down….Sounds far too cheesy… 😀
PoiSonPaiNter