There are always distinct sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and even tastes when you ride the city bus. If you have never taken a ride on the city bus, these are all very unfamiliar to you. But once you get the knack of riding it, you wish you could go back to never knowing. All the stereotypes you hear about the homeless, the weird smelling, and the almost criminally insane people riding the bus are all true, but you never get the full effect unless you have one of them actually sit almost right on top of your lap (And yes, it has happened to me).
If you are ever desperate enough to utilize the ever so gracious public transportation, take a look around. Who do you see? You might spot a few people you know around town. When you look into their eyes, you develop a bond only two people riding the city bus can share. You are both in the same situation whether you like it or not and it is good to make a friend or two to get you through the hell you have to face. If you are not so fortunate, you may have the old man that always rides to your next stop sit beside you. This just so happens to be the same man who manages to wear a suffocating amount of cologne, probably to hide the stench of warm beer and stale cigarettes on his breath. Somehow, it is still never enough. Although the man tries to hide who he really is under the smell of his cologne, you know the truth because you are closer than you honestly want to be.
Of course, you also could get the man who just got off work and you can tell because you feel like you can smell every bead of sweat coming out of his dirt filled pores. You are brushing arms with someone you do not know at all yet you feel like you know at least a little bit about who they may be. To pass the time, you may find yourself playing a guessing game; pinning stories to certain people because you feel like they fit the bill of what you have to say about them.
If you look deep enough into the people who sit around you, you notice the deep diversity in everyone. They are different ethnicities, sizes, and all have different stories. You can hear the person who always talks too loudly on the phone because apparently the call is too important to wait until he gets off. Aside from that guy you can hear other people’s vague murmurs but cannot entirely make out what they could be saying. Are they talking about you? Just thinking that makes you feel self-conscious and narcissistic.
So plug in your headphones if you think it will help. Play your music as loud as you dare with everyone sitting around you to try and create a barrier between you and these people you are in a confined space with. People will still come up to you with the most random things. You want twenty different creeps to tell you are a pretty young lady? Ride the bus. You want someone to pray with because they think you need Jesus? Ride the bus. You want to waste more time than necessary getting home or to work? Yeah, ride the bus.
Finally! You have made it to your next stop! If you are lucky, that will be your last stop. If you are not so lucky, you still have more of a journey to go. But you get a reprieve while you wait for the next bus, unless of course you missed it because your previous bus driver was driving like your grandmother. Then you are stuck for another hour until the next one comes around. So go ahead and sit on a bench at the bus station and wait, try to be patient. You can either stay there, or walk yourself to where you need to be. If you choose to stay, you had better get comfortable around the homeless and the crabby. Believe me; no one else is happy about being there either.
While waiting for your bus, I am sure you are counting down the buses until yours comes along, but please be careful not to walk behind buses because the fumes that come out of that whale can be toxic and will hit you like a brick. One minute you will be breathing fresh, clean air and the next your lungs will be jumping out of your chest to get fresher air than the smog you are breathing in. Not only can you smell it, you can feel it too. Hot, dirty fumes hit you and fill the pores on your face you try so hard to keep clean.
It’s here! It’s here! About time right? I mean, you are at risk of seeing people using the bathroom on the sidewalk and watching the two men who have been arguing since you got there beat each other up. You just have to make it home, which is easier said than done. Pray that your bus driver does not ride the bumper of every driver he gets behind because every time he slams on his brakes, you will almost literally go flying out of your seat. Of course, the bus drivers are never so courteous. Just sit there and wonder why they put the bus stops so close together as if people are so lazy, they can’t just walk one block. Because that is why you are stuck stopping every ten feet.
Take out that book you are in the middle of and escape your world for a more desirable fantasy. You are almost home which is all that matters. Count down the seconds even though it does not make time move any faster and run (almost like a racehorse) off that bus when the time comes.
Congratulations, you have just made it through your first day of Public Transportation. So tell me, what is worse? Walking or riding? You will never forget the distinct public bus smell, the crazies that ride it, or the paranoia of being abducted right on the bus.