October 2018
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why I adore taking the bus


icon: "wanderlust (an empty road winding through gentle hills at night, lit up by a bright full moon and stars)"

The difference between getting on the shuttle (filled with living-on-campus college students) and the bus is stark. On the shuttle, people are fucking selfish as shit, always shoving in front, crowding, stinking (god I hate axe), generally being rotten toddlers. People will literally shove by me when I have been waiting since before the last shuttle arrived. Dealing with 5-foot and 6-foot toddlers is just infuriating. I may start scolding them out loud.

On the bus, people wait kindly based on who arrived first, even if you didn't get in line. There's an awareness and a care for each other. People sometimes greet me, share information like when a bus is late, etc. It's this intense difference between rich and poor, really, because to live on campus here you have to be rich, and people riding the bus for an hour's commute like me are usually doing it at least in part to save money. I'm sure it also has to do with how recently people were released from the prison that is USian high school, where literally everything is a competition.

I've rearranged my schedule now to let me take the bus every day, and as I was walking to the bus stop recently I was reflecting on how much it affects me and had the thought that I feel more whole now. A bizarre thought! But I think it comes from feeling unable to take public transit for most of my life, due partly to stress about deadlines / timetables and partly to strong trigger reactions to being left stranded in a public place, or feeling like I am stranded. I don't know why I have a reaction to that and I may never know, but coming to feel competent at navigating transit feels like the long, long awaited final step in being able to manage the fallout of the childhood abuse I endured.

I also felt looked down on by people for not being able to do it. Like people would think I don't care about the environment, or am a snob, or am a suburbanite. Uncool, apathetic, and elitist. So I feel safer from judgement and I feel a kind of relief because part of me was like "well maybe I am apathetic, maybe I am selfish and lazy." No. I was unskilled and hadn't had a chance to practice in a way where I could overcome my trauma.

I honestly feel reluctance to ever take another route to/from work, even if someone else is driving, because I love being on the bus so much. It gives me dedicated time to write or read LJ, but I can also just close my eyes and meditate. At home I can't just randomly close my eyes and meditate because disentangling from my surroundings is too difficult. On the bus I am disentangled instantly if I turn my phone screen off. I think my fondness for the bus has to do with the length of time I am on the bus, as well, because it is long enough that I don't feel stressed by rapid context changes, but just short enough that I don't get impatient.

And I think there is something magic to me about buses, especially ones that ride on a loop. They make me think of being a cell in the bloodstream of the city; it makes me feel like I belong. It makes me feel like I can tap in to the heartbeat of the city and I feel nourished by it.

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Comments
lapisspider ══╣╠══
I took the bus a lot this summer with all 5 kids and was surprised how much I liked it as well! I was super apprehensive but even the kids traveled peacefully through it. There really is a good vibe to the bus. Sounds like you've found a little bit of peace with it. I say keep taking it. :)
wanderlust
belenen ══╣wanderlust╠══
I do love it and intend to continue taking it!
lostincandyrain ══╣╠══
I'm really glad that the bus is working so well for you! People definitely aren't that friendly on buses around here... I do get that same feeling about really being part of the city though. Time to close your eyes and meditate is so important!
summer in Georgia
belenen ══╣summer in Georgia╠══
I do commute in Atlanta, which is known for its warmth in people (and temperature, haha)!
daphnep ══╣╠══
A Lyft driver I rode with recently observed a similar contrast, to yours between shuttle and bus: driving in the neighborhood of the Ivy League university vs. the public one only a few miles away. His story about his own passengers paralleled yours very closely. Poor people rely on others too much, to be able to risk not learning at least some graciousness.
contemptuous
belenen ══╣contemptuous╠══
oh yes, as a service worker you never want to deal with wealthy customers. they're the literal worst, so selfish. (Confirmed both by anecdata and actual objective data on charitable giving!)
HxH ★ fifer's tale
ragnarok_08 ══╣HxH ★ fifer's tale╠══
That's good that going on the bus has been going well for you :)
belenen ══╣╠══
thank you!
star
kattidya ══╣star╠══
zomg I love taking buses too! :D It usually takes me three buses and one subway ride to go to downtown Helsinki, but it's worth it xD I also love taking buses I have never taken before, such as this Tuesday :3
intrigued
belenen ══╣intrigued╠══
oh wow that is a lot of changes! I would find that very stressful I think - I don't do well with rapid context changes.
darkestgarden ══╣╠══
I love public transport! I wish I had more opportunities to use it, but the buses don't run far out enough for me to do so. I find magic in it too. Being on a bus feels like slipping into a liminal space. One of these days I'd love to ride a train across the country.
eccentric
belenen ══╣eccentric╠══
Yeah, they don't run all the way to me -- I have a 15 minute drive to get to the nearest pickup! but it's better than the full drive, by a lot.
bunnicula38 ══╣╠══
Interesting take on public transportation (buses). I tried taking them for a while to and from work when I lived in New Orleans but the transfers required to arrive at work and home was tiring. I spent too much time on buses. But you are right. One of the advantages of buses is that people generally leave you alone; you avoid sitting bored in traffic and can use that time to relax by reading or engaging in a hobby you enjoy. A friend of mine knits when she rides the bus.

I use my car in Austin because, living in the suburbs, a car is essential. Everything is so spread apart and I'd have to walk some distance to find a bus. We have "dillos," what you might call shuttles to transfer folks within downtown but the dillos have no seats and are always crowded.


How many bus transfers are required for you to get to work or such? Can you get to most places by just taking one bus? That would be heavenly if that were the case. And I bet you save a lot in parking by taking public transportation. Love your entry!! You wrote a poetic paen to the beauty of public transportation. :-)
analytical
belenen ══╣analytical╠══
my bus is a commuter bus and takes me very near to the shuttle stop, so it's a 15-20 minute drive, an hour on the bus, a 10 minute walk, a 15 min shuttle ride, and another 10 min walk. the bus part is all on one and is my favorite part. I would be so stressed out having to switch buses a lot!!

thank you!
chillychilly22 ══╣╠══
I'm glad you find joy in taking public transportation. I only enjoy it if I know I have a seat to myself. I don't like being cooped up with strangers.

I've been guilty of shuffling in the front of the line these days cause it's too cold for me to be civilized. The flip side is there's usually no space in the waiting vestibule so I'm out in the elements waiting for said shuttle. I do practice better etiquette outside this particular situation. So I'm not a total ass.
kiwi ══╣╠══
It's intriguing to me to hear of people who like taking the bus - it makes me wonder if I take it for granted. I probably do - one of my biggest complaints in life is my commute. I am a bus commuter (have been for eons, more of one now as B uses the car, even though there is a bus stop outside of his work and his work is only 15 minutes from home) - I can hit up to two hours on the bus on my way home and I have a transfer each way, though, so I suppose that's a part of it. Another part of it is that traffic is terrible so some of that time is spent just sitting, going nowhere. I am getting a lot of reading done, though. :)

(I am aware that if I were in a car, I'd be sitting in the car going nowhere, too, so really perhaps my beef isn't with the bus itself but traffic - my next job, I swear, is going to be closer to home. When I get to the point of looking.)
webgirluk ══╣╠══
I loved reading about your connection with taking the bus :-) I'm glad you are able to enjoy and make the best of your commute.
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.