Yesterday I rode the Yolo/Sacramento busses to and from school. It is something that I would love to have the time ability to take advantage of every day, but sadly, I have exact times that I have to be back home and this transportation does not have stops within those times. Taking the bus, is such an interesting experience – one that I think a great number of people would benefit from in terms of a definite reality check. The morning commute was pretty uneventful – all of the passengers seemed to be on their way to work or school, and for the most part, the bus was quiet as we all minded our own business by reading or texting and generally not making eye contact with the people sitting only a foot away from you (something I also think is weird, but oh well). At one point in the commute, an elderly lady sat down next to me and immediately drummed up a conversation that lasted about 15 minutes – it was lovely. She asked me what I was studying and then told me about her children and grandchildren and what they did for a living and how she was not on the bus for anything half as fun as school (her words), but for “old lady reasons” of going to store and pharmacy.
One the way home, things became extremely interesting as the commuters were not just people on their way home from work, but also the blatently high commuters. The older (I’d say mid sixties) couple that sat behind me fighting about whose crack addiction was worse : his or hers – continued their discussion to the stop at which we all waited for the next bus – and in just as “friendly” tones, the couple next to me discussed the girls boyfriend who had apparently had at least 6 people before her that he slept with “the first in 7th grade, whose name he doesn’t even remember” – It’s very interesting the things you can glean from conversations to which you are by distance, unable to ignore. This same couple, I found exceedingly funny as I counted the use of the word “like” for only about 2 minutes – She said “like” 43 times before I stopped counting. They were college students, had entered the bus at the same moment I had – and my disgust at their ability to communicate without constant repetition kept me from laughing.
There was also the political activist at the front of the bus, who, upon entrance began accosting the nearest passenger to find out if their views were equally aligned with her own and then plotting the course to which she might stalk different government officials in order to get her point of view heard.
It’s interesting to me that all of this happened within only a short hour, and that all of those people have lives which I am never a part of except in that small moment of commute. I wonder if I continued to take the bus if I would learn their names – if the content of their discussions would change or if, as it is in my mind, the same thing would be repeated day after day.
All that to say, it’s good to be reminded of the different types of people with which I share these cities.