At some point when I wasn’t looking, I became a certified regular commuter (CRC). You know you are one when you find yourself on first-name terms with the staff of your usual bus line. Before that, I was just an unverified frequent rider (UFR). A frequent rider is the transitional stage of a person who ditched paper tickets and uses her transport company’s dedicated phone app but still doesn’t know all the ropes. Even before that, I was a random unaspiring occasional (RUO). An occasional is a loser who prints out her tickets and doesn’t yet have her favourite seat.
My newly earned status as a CRC entails the social duty of small talk with staff. This isn’t going very well for me because I’m not precisely the interactive kind. I imagine, however, that I might soon unlock a more advanced status when the transaction of polite phrases will be replaced by a simple and elegant exchange of mere meaningful looks. I also hope to get access to the function of a permanent seat reservation, so that the staff, for the sake of our continuing peaceful coexistence, would ensure that no one will ever be able to book my seat. Everyone knows it’s my seat. Only some aggressive individuals still sometimes try to cheat me out of it.
The first sign of my promotion to a CRC appeared when stewardess Martina observed that I surely love to travel with them, considering how often I indulge in this pastime. Since I’m no good in conversation, I didn’t manage to respond anything beyond the tentative and hesitant Uh, well, yes, I guess… She also addressed me in Czech, though she sees well that my ticket reservation app is set to English – you shove your phone with the reservation screen on in the stewardess’s face so she can check your ticket number – hence she should deduce that I’m not comfortable using my mother tongue.
The second sure sign of my CRC status occurred when steward Francis gave me a quick glance, confirmed with me that my reserved seat was at the back of the bus as per usual and checked me in without having to look around in his passenger list for more than one second. Normally, it’s up to the staff to tell you your seat number, so this was an interesting inversion. Also, I don’t need to be told which seat I have reserved – only amateurs accept the seat automatically allocated to them by the system without changing to their seat.
Here is my seat, selected below in yellow. Looking at it, I see I need to change the language of my web reservation account as well. Bloody Czech everywhere. It’s like I live in the Czech Republic.