It takes a lot to shock us these days, but Wednesday, while wating for the Big Blue Bus at the corner of Fourth Street and Santa Monica Boulevard, we were blown away by what we saw.

First, it was what we smelled — the potent odor of marijuana. While we have nothing against cannabis and believe City Hall should allow at least one medical marijuana dispensary to open within Santa Monica, we were amazed that someone would have the gall to spark one up at one of the busiest intersections in Santa Monica.

We followed the scent to find out who was responsible for this late afternoon session. Behind a Big Blue Bus sign was what can only be described as a beach bum using a magnifying glass — yes, a magnifying glass — to harness the sun’s rays so that he could light his metal pipe and take a hit. We had to pause for a minute and take it all in. We remember using a magnifying glass to burn leaves when we were kids, but to use it to smoke weed — we couldn’t believe it.

Then came the icing on this insane cake. The beach bum took a hit and then blew his smoke in the faces of two young women who were sitting on the bus bench. Not only is it illegal to smoke at a bus stop, but to smoke weed at a bus stop and then blow it in people’s faces is downright dispicable. We were furious and confronted the inconsiderate stoner, who laughed it off and began singing “puff the magic dragon.”

It was just another sign of how far we’ve fallen as a society — especially when it comes to having consideration for others. One only has to ride the Big Blue to see plenty of examples of how morals have been flushed down the toilet, replaced by this ultra-narcacisitic, self-absorbed existence where the only thing that matters is “Me!”

Following the beach bum’s magnifying display, we saw a teenage girl at the back of the bus with her dirty Converse sneakers planted on the seat in front of her. As the bus became crowded, she finally moved her feet off the seat so another young woman could sit down. We couldn’t help but obsess over the fact that the young woman was sitting in a seat that had just been a resting place for dirty sneakers.

And that’s not all. Oftentimes people will occupy the first few seats and refuse to move when an elderly passenger boards, which is clearly against the law. Others will eat, drink or play loud music. Many bus drivers try to maintain order, but when you are responsible for manuevering an 11 to 14 ton bus through rushhour traffic on Wilshire, it can be difficult to play the disciplinarian.

Our point is that we all need to be more considerate of those around us. We need to remember that we are not the center of the universe. We need to lend a helping hand. We need to abide by the rules. It can be difficult, but if we do not try to be civil, we might as well just be animals. So the next time you find yourself on a crowded bus, see if that older man would like to sit in your seat and turn down your i-Pod. Not everyone wants to hear Lady Gaga blaring from your headphones.

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