If you've ever taken public transport, you'll know them: they are the mosquitoes in the great bedroom of life, buzzing around at the back of your consciousness when you just want the world to be quiet and let you read for a bit.
They thrive in every city on the planet, living mostly on bus networks, and their numbers multiply exponentially from year to year:
To me, Annoying People are even more frustrating on the bus than they are in the cinema. At the movies, they manifest themselves as Chip-Packet Cracklers and Seat Kickers but at least, in the dark, they never see where that well-aimed Jaffa came from. [Disclaimer: this blog in no way advocates the throwing of hard candy at people's heads...unless they were talking over the top of An Important Bit, in which case, it is permissible.]
Without further rambling, and in no particular order, here are the ten types of annoying people you find on buses:
1. "Everybody luvs my choons, don't it?"
The Gangsta Rapper (A.K.A. Lil Wayne In Training)
They're always there when you're feeling particularly irritable; sitting at the back of the top deck, blaring crappy rap music from their phones (sometimes rapping along), completely ignorant of the death stares they're receiving from the passengers who do know how to pull up their pants.
These people make me want to play Taylor Swift at top volume on my phone and see how they like it…If I had Taylor Swift on my phone, that is…
2. "It's OK – I ate a mint."
The Ash Tray
Well, good for you. You still stink.
When will lovers of the cancer stick realise that the smoke doesn't just go into their black lungs, it also covers their clothes and hair? This is especially true if they've stubbed out their cigarette (on the ground, of course), seconds before getting on board.
As they step through the bus door, they bring with them a cloud of carcinogenic fumes that overwhelms even the smell of the half-eaten curry that someone left under your seat.
For some reason, men in army-green coats are the worst culprits.
3. "You will be judged for your consumerist society and fried chicken."
The Crazy Preacher
There's one on every bus route. Every Crazy Preacher I've come across has had questionable dress sense and questionable personal hygiene and loved to sit at the back of the bus, loudly banging on about Iraq, Nazis and/or Starbucks.
I'm not so sure that Jesus is really all that interested in the great Starbucks Monopoly -v- Independent Coffee Shops debate. I'm absolutely positive, though, that most Crazy Preacher sermons are the result of a brain fried by too many chemical substances, of which a skinny-decaf-caramel-cappu-mocha-frappu-laté-cino-with-a-shot-of-espresso is the least harmful.
4. "I just wanna be close to you."
The Obnoxious Seating-Code Breaker
Yes, there is a code on the bus, and the most sacred – THE MOST SACRED – part of this is "Never sit beside someone when there is an unoccupied double seat available".
Seriously, people: don't do it. I don't care how lazy you're feeling or how strongly you believe you have the right to bother me with your presence; go and sit in a window seat.
5. "I can't play properly without the sound."
The Public Gamer
Contrary to popular thought, these guys aren't geeks. Oh, no. Geeks stay at home to play their games in private; there, via that magical entity known as "the web", they can pit their skills against Russia's or Kazakhstan's finest, and make the best use of their time by simultaneously writing a programme to trawl eBay for Generation One Transformers.
Public Gamers are merely commuters in suits who have been suckered into spending ridiculous amounts of cash on the latest plastic gadget. No serious geek would be caught dead with a Nintendo DS.
This would all be fine (to each his own), except that Nintendo obviously feel they must commission their programmers to find the loudest, most annoying sound effects, and the most repetitive music, possible.
6. "I have to press it…just in case."
The OCBP (Obsessive-Compulsive Button Pusher)
These people really know how to push my buttons, in more ways than one. I mean, come on, how hard it is to look and see if the "STOPPING" sign is already lit up? You don't even have to be literate to do that.
And then we have the Double Clickers, who obviously think the "STOP" button is some sort of mouse button and requires an extra tap. A note to these people: it doesn't make the bus stop any quicker, nor does the resultant "chingching!" make you look cool.
7. "I'm on my way to KFC for breakfast."
The Double Wide
Now, I don't claim to be anything but overweight, but at least I don't take up one seat per butt cheek.
Honestly, though, the fact that I am a little chubby makes it even more of a mystery why overly-large people always choose to sit next to me, squashing my outer thigh beneath their hip and crushing my shoulder up against the window. Wouldn't it make more sense for them to sit next to the skinny person behind me, thereby distributing the weight a little more evenly?
8. "I don't believe in tissues."
The Perpetual Sniffer
Just when you're hoping to catch a nice little nap, along comes one of these, instead – and they're unstoppable. No matter how many times you pointedly turn up the volume on your iPod, they don't take the hint.
I'll never understand why some people find it so hard to blow their nose.
The worst of these are the snorters. This is the point where merely irritating becomes completely disgusting. At least, if it's just an habitual, fairly dry sniff, it's not so bad so long as they do it in time to whatever music I'm listening to, but I do not want to hear them choking and hacking on the entire contents of their sinuses.
This is the very definition of "gross".
9. "Oh my days, like, the whole world wants to know about, like, my whole life, innit!!"
The Motor Mouth Drama Queen
These people are usually chavvy teenage girls with basketball hoops for earrings and "da thickess Lundun accen' yooseva hurd", spouting out their latest tawdry gossip and he said/she saids, none of which you have the slightest desire to hear.
However, they could also be Chinese women of a certain age who seem to enjoy yelling at top decibel down the phone, or English businessmen of a certain age who want everyone to know that they are Doing A Very Important Deal.
Every single one of them, I can guarantee, will sit right behind you, and will continue their one-sided conversation throughout the entire journey.
10. "What's the problem? I took a shower last week."
The Noxious Fumigator
This group is separated into two sub-species: Royalus Odorus Offensicus (The B.O. King) and Royalus Colognus Offensicus (The Deodorant King). You will usually encounter the males of the species; the females do, of course, exist, but are far more rare.
Royalus Odorus Offensicus frequently cross-breed with Ash Trays. They come in all shapes and sizes, but can easily be recognised by the distinctive pattern down the spine and under the arms of their grey-and-yellow-tinted business shirts.
Royalus Colognus Offensicus are distinguished by their unusual and highly ineffectual mating practices. Somewhat dim-witted, they hold the belief that baptising themselves in one particularly offensive and, unfortunately, very prevalent brand of deodorant* will attract the female of the species. However, the females are, in general, highly repulsed by the scent.
It is thought that, in time, natural selection will cause a decline in Noxious Fumigator's population and instead favour that of a species known as the Metrosexual.[CITATION NEEDED]
*[I used to work on defamation claims; therefore, the product in question shall remain nameless, but can be found in the possession of most teenage boys.]