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Friday, August 9, 2013

There Are Many Buses; or How The Other Half Travel

In an effort to expand my world experience and, more importantly, go somewhere, I have taken up getting onto buses other than the Faithful 17W.

The Uptown bus takes me to the chiropractor.  Uptown:  forever in my mind as a neighborhood of coffee shops, chicks in tights, turn-of-the-century houses and the home of a bus stop where a dreadlocked man on a bicycle ran into a parked car while turning around to smile at me.

But that’s a story for another time. 

The other bus I’ve been taking goes out to Blaine, to the Northtown Park ‘N’ Ride, where I de-bus and walk six, seven blocks to join Big Willie in the efforts to settle his father’s estate.

I climbed onto this bus Monday night.

Immediately, the differences between a city and a commuter bus are apparent.  Firstly:  accordion bus!  That right there will excite your average city-type commuter.  To be honest, I am thrilled. 

That bit, in the middle there, where it swivels?  Magic.

My goal, of course, is to sit there.

I manage to sit near it.

It’s all I ask.

Once the novelty wore off of the front of the bus going around a corner so much earlier than the back end of the bus, however, I am left with nothing.

Nothing but a growing sense of disquiet.

All of these people, and none of them shouting into a telephone!  I lean into the aisle, look up toward the driver, turn around to look back toward the end of the bus. 

There is no one balancing a baby on a shopping cart. 

There is no one is surreptitiously changing their shirt or brushing their teeth.


There are no children, no collapsible shopping carts, no offers to “rock” my world.

Just what’s going on here?

These people are all dressed for work, all carrying brief cases and backpacks.  I sit back, stare out the window at the long lines of single-passenger vehicles on the freeway.

It’s a new world. 

Because sometimes a bus ride is a freak show.

And sometimes it’s just a ride.



27 comments:

joeh said...

You are a pip (that's good) love your style!

This was a four AC (audible chuckle) post.

Shelly said...

I know only the school bus, which in itself could be a microcosm of things wrong in our society. Accordion bus? Farm implements being toted? I learn so much from your posts.

Buttons said...

Yeah for just a ride but your stories would not be as entertaining so power to the freak show:) Honestly I am glad you are moving on up at least seeing how the other half travels. I travelled on one of those accordian buses once it was kind of freaky seeing the back of the bus beside you when you go around the bends. Cool.... once you get used to it. :) B

sage said...

I loved taking the bus to new spots when I lived in Pittsburgh... but I enjoyed the light rail more, just on sheer principle.

Mandy_Fish said...

You make my commute seem so dull.

Pearl said...

joeh, four AC? Every day, I learn. :-)

Shelly, absolutely. Every bus is a tiny society. The weird thing is how very much our "look" differs but how very often we are the same...

Buttons, for the most part, I LOVE the freaks. :-)

sage, love the light rail here in Mpls...

wellfedfred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wellfedfred said...

This speaks to me - for years, rather than have lunch with work colleagues, I'd walk a block or two in any direction away from the office and get on the first bus to arrive. 20 minutes to ride to a random stop, 10 or 15 minutes to explore, 20 minutes to ride back. Unused part of the hour was to allow for traffic and slippage. You will correctly conclude that I worked at Pestly, Dull and Goring, I mean Boring.

Pearl said...

Mandy, perhaps you are meant to be one of the freaks that others speak of. :-)

Pearl said...

wellfedfred, the bus is fascinating. I've sat next to everyone. People are fascinating and overwhelmingly well-meaning. I think we live in an age of fear, for some reason; and I think the bus is, for the most part, a cure for fear.

vanilla said...

It is great that you found a new bus experience for comparison purposes. I find your comment to wellfedfred to be most interesting. I'll mull that over a bit. Especially the "well-meaning" part.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Pearl, I appreciated this post for its difference, like the very ride it is describing.

I too found your reponse to 'wellfedfred' equally intriguing; "...the bus is, for the most part, a cure for fear." I actually get what you mean. There's a levelling factor somehow; especially when you have to come together to push the bus in question... YAM xxx

Eva Gallant said...

We sit and wait for the next freak show!

jenny_o said...

I'm pretty sure if you rode regularly you'd catch some of them with their guard down :)

Indigo Roth said...

They hadn't been warned you were coming, else they'd have been reeking, raucous and ragged x

Merlesworld said...

Buses are great more friendly than trains and when you go by car, parking is also problem you can never find a spot unless it's miles away or it cost the bus fare to park.
We all say thank you to the driver when we get off and he says goodbye but thats only in slow times if you get on in peak or with school children thats a different story.
Merle.............

Joanne Noragon said...

I've had little opportunity to ride the bus since my college days, waaaay before accordion buses. I immediately thought of the high school band, 400 strong, turning the corner last 4th of July. I was awestruck. Maybe you had to be outside, looking on.

Elephant's Child said...

I love the bus - and its inhabitants. I eavesdropp and (surreptitiously) stare. Joy and bliss.
And I love your bus trips. Thank you.

Daisy said...

The freak show is more interesting, of course, but sometimes just a ride is good enough. :-) Have a great weekend, Pearl.

Murr Brewster said...

I don't have the opportunity much. Last time I visited D.C., which has a subway that didn't exist when I lived there, I got on that. Thrilled--THRILLED, I say--to see a seat available on what appeared to be an overcrowded car. I got in it, next to some sort of. Man, I think. I have never smelled anything like that in my life. It wasn't that big a deal to walk three miles from the next stop, after all.

Meanwhile, I got snagged up at the beginning there. One time I was riding my bicycle with a halter top on and a jogger crossing in front of me did such a prolonged double take he ran into a parked car. I still replay that moment whenever I need to.

River said...

I don't like the central swivel in accordion buses, it brings memories of childhood motion sickness, plus the seats are sideways and I much prefer to face the front.

Mitchell is Moving said...

My experiences of bus rides in the USA were quite often freak shoes; here in Spain they tend to be just rides... usually.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Ah . . . you know you love your crazies on the bus! :)

Sioux said...

I just heard Hugh Laurie say that "Music is a balm for the brain."

Perhaps bus riding is the "picking at scabs" for the brain?

What is the advantage for having the accordion middle?

Leenie said...

Whatever bus you report on is a fun trip.

Last bus I rode routinely was bright yellow with black text. This town only has one or two buses and they usually are for taking disabled to their work, etc. We can walk across our whole town in a half hour or less--but everybody drives a 4wd pickup just in case there is a blizzard or we need to haul a 4-wheeler or a cow.

Leenie said...

Every ride with you is a trip, Pearl.

Our town has buses mostly used by the disabled since one can walk across town in a half hour or less. So everyone drives a 4wd pickup truck in case there is a blizzard or we have to haul four wheelers or a cow.

Leenie said...

Sorry about the double comment. Just realized you've enabled comment moderation. You can delete half of my double talk if you wish.