Jessica Gross

The Bus People

In people watching on August 28, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Today was momentous. Today was my first Bus Day.

I just moved to an apartment between York and East End in Manhattan. Read: very far from the subway. “Hey, I like to walk!” I thought. “This will be jolly!” By this morning (not yet a week after my move), my thoughts had shifted. They more closely resembled, “Hell’s if I’m going to walk fifteen minutes to the six train.” So I did the unthinkable: I took the bus.

Pre-ride, my mental image involved a dank, hundred-degree vessel — a mobile cellar, if you will — filled with old ladies. And not just old ladies, but angry old ladies, who brandished canes (yes, brandished: in my MTA bus dreams they swung the wooden tips at my nose). This image was incorrect.

I’ll admit it: I enjoyed myself! There were old ladies, but they did no brandishing. One smiled bewilderedly for twenty minutes straight. They may even have been outnumbered by old men. And, in fact, the majority of bussers were neither old nor crotchety, and — get ready for it — they were nicer than the subway people.

What’s with this bus-subway rift? At least, the scorn is there on the subbers’ end: they think the bus is smelly, they think the bus is slow, they think the bus is full of “crazies.” Okay, it’s slow. But “crazies”? Where did this word come from? Is crazy valid as a plural noun?

Well, let me tell you what I noticed in my one-ride sample size of bus riding (I’ve done the subway thing at least a thousand times). People on the bus are patient. They know the bus is slow. They accept that it must stop when the traffic light is red. So they sit there and read, or just sit there and sit.

On the subway, there is never such silence as there was on my bus. These passengers have a right to the fastest commute possible, and if they don’t get it, oh-ho, will the Subway Lords pay! When the subway pauses because a passenger is seizing on a train ahead, all wrists twitch to reveal the increasingly distressing time. Eyes roll. Sighs — or, rather, puffs of air loudly dispelled through the nose — reverberate. The subway riders are important people with demanding jobs. They must! get! to work!

Who are the “crazies,” again?

  1. Good post! I’ve noticed that the people who ride the PATH train are also, on average, much more friendly than those “crazies” on the subway.

  2. […] 12, 2008 · No Comments I’ve argued repeatedly that bus people are nicer. My brother visited a couple of weekends ago, and while on the bus, I repeated this, apparently my […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: