A lady called up the other day and said that riding the bus is more horrible than ever. "Give me the bill of particulars," I said. "Elbows in the ribs, feet stepped on, crowded as all get-out and when will they ever move to the back of the bus?" she said.

I didn't tell her so, but the lady's plaints are old plaints. How do I know? Because of a poem that Mildred Bishop of Silver Spring discovered the other day.

The poet was a coworker of Mildred's at the Pentagon. He produced his masterwork during World War II, when the Washington work force was required to ride Capital Transit buses because of tire and gasoline rationing.

The poem has no title. But it sure does have a point. Without further ado:

I've ridden roller coasters

Done stunt flying in a plane

I've often rode the rods beneath

A fast and speeding train.

I've mounted bucking broncos

Sailed boats o'er stormy seas

And slid down the sides of mountains

On a pair of flimsy skis.

These things no longer thrill me

They fill me with disgust

Since I've started riding regular

On a Capital Transit bus.

It's a rough and dangerous pastime

Where the weak ones have no show

It's a cross between a hockey game

And a Wild West rodeo.

They crowd you at the bus stop

And squeeze you in the door

Anyone who hesitates

They shove him on the floor.

They pack you in so tightly

That you think your ribs will crack

But the driver keeps on saying,

"Will you please move further back?"

Your senses start to reeling

But there's one thing you can hear

For the driver still is chanting,

"Will you please move to the rear?"

The bus is fairly bulging

But they still come through the door

People hanging from the ceiling

Others lying on the floor.

A feather in a woman's hat

Is tickling your nose

And some big 200-pounder

Is standing on your toes.

Your clothes are mussed and rumpled

You feel that you're a wreck

While some garlic-eating bozo

Is coughing on your neck.

You finally reach your stop

And the real fun then begins.

For it's twice as hard agittin' off

As it was agittin' in.

They finally shove you off at last

You've never been more beat.

You look around to find that you are

Ten blocks past your street.

You drag into the job at last

A half an hour late.

It takes the next eight hours

For a man to recuperate.

So, please, Mr. President

If you need me to win the war

Give me tires and gasoline

And let me use my car!

Overheard at the corner of 19th and M streets NW, one bicycle messenger to another:

"It's bad out here today, man. I almost got sideswiped twice on K Street by cars."

This from the kings of the sideswipe. Ask any pedestrian. If you can find one who doesn't bail out of the way the second he sees a bike messenger coming.

John Perkins of Northwest defines daydreaming as having a good time thinking what a good time you could be having if only you were having it.