Move over, folks,
take a step back,
be kind and offer your seat
to old Caridad.
HAVANA TIMES — The above lyrics are the chorus of La Guagua (“The Bus”), a song by the great Celia Cruz that Candido Fabre popularized when he was still a member of the Original de Manzanillo band.
The song alludes to the public transportation difficulties faced by Cubans, one of the problems that the socialist government has regrettably been unable to overcome, to say nothing of the impact that the US blockade has had on this important sector.
It is not my intention to debate whether the irregularities of local, inter-municipal or inter-provincial transportation are to be blamed on the blockade imposed on the island, which makes it more difficult to secure spare pieces and to purchase new equipment, or whether it is the fault of sector officials who lack foresight and are inept administrators. What I want to share with you today is what happened to me yesterday because of our blessed transportation system.
Getting anywhere on time is one of the main challenges faced by all Cubans, particularly women who, in addition to having to look after their children and families, must meet their work and social commitments.
Recently, while trying to get to a morning appointment on time, I found myself being shoved around and squeezed by people in an overcrowded bus. Two men, one to my right and the other to my left, suddenly sandwiched me.
My first instinct was to clutch my purse tightly, for, even though I was barely carrying any cash, I was worried about my debit card and other important documents that cost money and take time to get re-issued.
In my efforts to keep my purse safe, I had neglected another precious item: my derriere (ass). It’s not that it’s very big or shapely, or remarkable in any way, but this, my ass, was the only thing my fellow passengers seemed to be interested in.
The bus finally started again after idling for several minutes as the passengers got on, and then, everyone – my bodyguards included – started moving and shifting back and forth.
As I didn’t like the direction that situation was heading one bit, I tried to turn around, but couldn’t.
“Please, you’re stepping on me,” I said to the man to my right.
“I can’t breathe,” I said to the one to my left.
Running into a maniac is a problem, but having two at either side was truly grandiose, I said to myself as the anger began to gnaw at me from within, not knowing what I could do to get rid of the two, who would press against me more and more. “Are they a duo or what?” I asked myself.
After shoving them some, complaining and looking at the two angrily, I saw no other alternative but to resort to violence.
I was of course aware of the fact that the two gentlemen, big and strong, could kill me, but feeling one is in the right gives one courage, and my honor was at stake.
“Creeps, perverts, scroungers,” I was thinking this and more when, wham, I hit one of them in the stomach and, wham, kicked the other. I don’t know if they were as strong as I thought, but the two cheeky devils got off the bus without saying a word.