Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WANTED: Suggestions for the "New Finger"

According to the little poll on the sidebar, my next topic should be "Rage against the Bus Service."  While I am looking forward to unleashing a catharsis of verbal butt-kicking upon the Pittsburgh Port Authority in a longer post in the near future, I thought I would just go ahead and get started now, while my ire is freshly-stirred. 

A little while ago, I was on an extremely overcrowded bus -- as they usually are -- and I was trying to get to my stop.  I was running late, because my bus and several others had gotten stuck behind a broken-down bus -- again, a pretty common occurrence.  I elbowed my way to the front of the bus as gently as I could.  I managed to get to the front one stop early, about a block from my corner.

As the bus halted with a jerk, I realized that the driver was sitting at a green light with the doors closed.  Hopeful-looking people waited on the curb.  I glanced over my shoulder at the full bus behind me.  Was the driver not going to let these people on?  Because I could get off right then and walk the last block.  I felt a super-speedy guilt rush for taking up space on a bus that would be more fruitfully occupied by a sweet little old lady, or a brain surgeon on the way to work or something. 

I shifted my backpack and politely asked the driver, "Are you letting anyone on at this stop?"

With the disdain of a British talent show judge, and the boorish snarl of a cavetroll, she roared back at me:

"WELL, ARE YA GETTING OFF OR NOT?!  Either get off or move! I ain't got time for yo'unz farting around at the front of the bus and blah-blah-blah-blah..."

Shocked and frozen for a second, I then stepped backward and almost took out a sweet little old lady behind me.  I flashed my bus pass at the driver and hustled off the bus, as her troll-like rant followed me out the door and onto the sidewalk. 

As I got off the bus, I was met by an almost overwhelming urge to extend my middle finger in her direction.  However, I held back.  As the bus waited at the now-red light and I walked past it, I again resisted the urge to flip the bird at the maltempered ogre in the driver's seat.  I hurried down the street to my appointment, and though the bus beat me to the corner, it had to wait at another red light while I crossed the street in front of it.  This presented one more golden opportunity to offer up the one-fingered salute, but I swallowed my anger one last time as I sauntered past her bus.  Why?

I have never given anyone/anything "the finger" -- not even in middle school, when everyone was trying out swear words and rude gestures, did I give it a go.  Over the years, when the impulse to demonstrate my feelings in this manner has arisen, I have always stifled it by balling up my hands into fists or something.  It seems to have become a point of pride with me.  Maybe I crochet so much because my fingers need to release their repressed emotions...  In any case, being a "flip-off" resistor has been a silver bullet for games of "Never Have I Ever." 

However, today was different.  I really WANTED to flip off this bus driver!  She really deserved it!  If I talked that way to someone at work -- anyone -- I would fire MYSELF.  But I just can't bring myself to actually do it when the situation presents itself.  My middle finger seems to suffer from performance anxiety, and I fear that the finger might just feel a little... used afterwards.  That's the reason that I'm posting.

I need a Middle Finger Alternative.

This is a 100% serious request, Internet.  I can't find myself caught in another situation like today.  I need to be prepared with a satisfying angry gesture for the next Gorilla/Human hybrid that verbally assaults me.  Here are some of the eliminated contenders:

1. Sticking out tongue: First grade called.

2. Thumbing nose: Takes too much hand-face coordination.  Also, rather juvenile.  And too British.

3. Angry shrug: Too easy for target to ignore.

4. Smacking own butt as if to say "BOO-YA!": A little dated.  Also, doing so on a public bus is like sending an open invitation to the spank-party to all bus patrons, including the super-creepy ones.

5. The "Hand over Fist" thing: Again, takes too much coordination.  Also, requires both hands.  I need a gesture that can be executed with one hand, as I am usually juggling bag, books, and coffee on the bus.

Please give me your suggestions with instructions for execution.  I'll try them on for size and let you know what I implement.  Thank you for your time!


  1. Whatever you do, do it better than me!

    When I have the urge to stick up one finger, or indeed two fingers (and there I show my age), for usually very valid reasons my performance anxiety is such that I end up just flapping my hand rather halfheartedly in the direction of the person that pissed me off.

    This won't do, and often makes me even more annoyed. Quite clearly I also need advice in this area. I await further comments...

  2. Give her the brit attitude right back by articulate the insulting v-finger towards the desired recipient.

  3. I like Dane Cook's Super Finger! I tried to find a video of him when he talked about that but was unsuccessful :(. Though having said that I, like you, have never had the nerve to use either the regular or the super finger lol

  4. I blow a kiss and flash a BIG smile! I find that infuriates people much more than the finger

  5. Terrific ideas, everyone! THANKS! The next time I board a bus, I will try them all out... maybe even at the SAME TIME.

    That might be too much attitude for one set of hands, but we'll see. :)

  6. I can't honestly come up with any gesture ideas, but I recommend asking for her employee number. That will shut her up and get her acting straight pretty fast. And if you miss your chance, you can still get the bus number as it drives away! If someone truly acts that heinous, well, considering the likely lay-offs upcoming to Port Authority, they really can't afford to. Justice served.