The Bus (hey, they say write about what you know, right?)

These past few months have given me the opportunity to test out the local transit system.  The bus and Skytrain have become my second home: between the hour and a half bus rides to school five days a week to the, thankfully, much shorter commute to the Barn of Crowds and Generally Annoying People (known to some simply as “the mall”) I’ve become more than accustomed to the lumpy seats, the riders who attempt to pay for only half of the zones we all know they’re going to cross, and the jerky stops of the newer bus drivers.

I’ve gotten to know some of the drivers.  Not by name or anything.  I do recognize which ones smile and wish you a good day, or the ones who avoid eye contact and reek of that certain odour…the one they call “I Hate My Job” (I’m sure you’ve caught a whiff of it at a clothing store or two).  I see these dudes more than I see my own neighbours.

Since I’ve promised not to become a bitching blog (note: that’s “bitching” not “BITCHIIIN'”, since the latter carries a much more positive vibe) I won’t even start on my fellow passengers or the revolting residues they leave behind.  Just allow me to hint at that one time I leaned against the window and came away with a gnarly substance that solidified my hair into rock solid chunks.  I still don’t know what it was, and I would really, really prefer to never find out.

But it’s not all bad.

There are some days where it’s enough for me to just curl up in my heavy coat and enjoy the sunrise (back when I was on the bus by 7.30 in the morning).  Most people around me are plugged in to some device or other, but on mornings like these I find that music almost hinders the whole experience.  I tend to enjoy these times the best: when I don’t need to fill the silence with a song, or load my brain with a Sudoku puzzle or the storyline of whatever novel I’m reading (or the odd occasion where I actually, you know, do my school readings).  My bus’s route takes me past farmlands and my absolute favourite part of this whole morning is how the sun looks, casting its rays all over the world.  It’s like the opening of Pride and Prejudice, I swear to God, and I just want to be Keira Knightley trampling around in the fields with gorgeous music playing over my frolicking.

Any bus stories to share?  Good experiences, bad experiences?


2 thoughts on “The Bus (hey, they say write about what you know, right?)

  1. A few years ago, in New York, my friend and I made an effort to ride a train (not a bus, I apologize) to the outskirts of town. The train car was nearly empty save an old lady, two girls around our age, and my friend and I. After managing to make an effort to avoid eye contact with these two girls, they, in what I perceived as an attempt to gain our attention, began loudly explaining graphic stories of all the times they had been sexually harassed/assaulted on the train. Needless to say, they got the result they were looking for. To this day, I remain conflicted as to whether or not they were engaging in an intimate moment of sharing amongst themselves (and I am just a self-obsessed asshole) or they really felt that putting the image of a homeless man exposing himself in my head was the quickest way to make me want to kiss somebody.

  2. The immobile wait on a margin of concrete,
    Elbows crooked in anticipation,
    Necks cranking to locate the blue-green mass.
    It’s an awkward frenzy of “excuse me” and “pardon me’s”
    When exhaust threatens to assault the skin.

    Hastily pressing plastic faces—each time poorer
    —Then shuffling until knees knock right and left.
    Inferior eyes criticize every stranger,
    Creaseless mouths clatter in fouls,
    And a hopeful denim mini skirt dares to brush a thigh:
    An anonymous masquerade manifested in metal and rubber.

    Here, different destinations make feet collide
    And are obliged—by default of the bus—
    To smother their ears with the oppressive noise
    Of elementary psychology and two twenty-five-cent sermons.

    The only solace a glass chute,
    Beckoned by fingers to open
    And drop bodies to make room for more
    –None new; each as predictable as the last.

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