I do not own a car. Consequently, I depend on the hour long city bus rides to get home. One day, after a Mock Trial meeting at school, I took the bus back home and upon seeing the letter head in front of the school, the bus driver asked me if I was going to homecoming, to which I replied no. He then playfully reprimanded me about how important it was for me to show school pride and attempting to defend myself I replied,
“But I’m going to see West Side Story that day.”
This tall, scruffy, driver who had a strong resemblance to a lumber jack, looked at me incredulously, and responded in his deep, baritone voice, “That’s one of my favorite musicals! Don’t you love how Bernardo and the Sharks dance in the opening scene?” There began the most unlikely conversation with the most unlikely person that covered topics such as the music from West Side Story, to the plot from Chicago, and whether or not we liked Phantom of the Opera.
This conversation I had with the bus driver is one of the many interesting experiences and conversations I’ve had on the city bus. Most of the time, people see the bus as a hassle, and it is, in comparison with the convenience of having a car. However, looking at it from a different stand point, it also gives you the chance to experience moments like talking to the lumber jack driver about your favorite musical. When you get on the bus, you are giving up a part of your day to sit on this bus along with other people who are doing the same thing. You realize that these people, just like you, have something to do after they get off, have a reason for riding it in the first place, and have a story to tell and have a life to get to.
Another time I went on the bus, I sat next to a man whose eyes were glued to a book he was holding in his hands. I let him read on, but I couldn’t help but notice the interesting title the book had—what it was I can’t remember—but I do remember it sparking my curiosity. For a moment, he tore his eyes off of the page and I took the chance to ask him what the book was about. He then gushed about how the book was about the interpretation of different philosophies and different religions, but then remarked about how he was particularly interested in Buddhism. This triggered a ten minute discussion on what beliefs and religions we thought were fascinating. I later learned that this man had woken up from a two year coma about a year ago after a horrible motorcycle accident he had. He even showed me pictures of his wrecked motorcycle. After being hit straight on by a truck, all he could tell me was how grateful he felt for being alive and well. He told me that this was the event that triggered a turning point in his life, which was why he was researching and reading about religion and philosophy. Hearing this man’s story brought me out of my thoughts about school, my friends, and my homework and brought me to reality.
Often times, we as students do have a lot of pressure and work on our plate and we find ourselves absorbed in this little world of ours where we have so many things to do. But from what I’ve gained in riding the city bus, is that riding it forces you to come out of your bubble and when you do, you meet so many amazing people who are going through the same things as you are. You discover that you are not alone. Although you may not get home faster, or have the radio on to your favorite station like you would in your car, meeting these people and hearing their stories is something that a car can’t offer you. So, if you ever find yourself in need of transportation, consider the city bus. You never know what story you’re going to hear.