Thursday, July 24

bus culture, part three

In Winston-Salem, the station after the traumatic ride, I found myself hoping to go to a sauna when I got to my destination. I only thought about it for a second, of course realizing that I was in America where there are no public sauna/bath houses. I was associating this kind of long public overnight travel with China, where I often end in a city where I can clean up in a steamy public bath.

During the wait for the next bus, a girl who had been on the same bus as me sat down beside me and told me she thought the curly headed guy she had been smoking with outside was cute. We decided we wanted some coffee, so we started to head out and she asked her crush to accompany us. On the next bus, less than an hour after our coffee trip, these two are sitting side by side, parts of their body intertwined. And she had just told me that you have to be careful around these guys you meet on the bus! For some reason, this makes me long for the redemption of the world.

The new couple is sitting behind a girl (who didn't look like a girl) talking about how she was going home to her wife and kids. The girl she called her wife was waiting at the next station for her and we got to witness their affectionate reunion.

I leave the oblivious new couple to get off the bus and wait for my last bus to Danville. I meet Calvin, a good looking, well dressed guy who looks at the vending machine but doesn't buy anything. He asks me if I know where he can look for a job. I don't know anything, of course, about jobs here, but I really wish I could help him.

An old man comes in and asks for my help to buy him a sausage biscuit from the vending machine. It won't take his $5 bill, so I use my $2 to buy it for him, but I open it to an empty door and it eats my money. I offer him my last two pieces of zucchini bread, but he says he's diabetic and can't eat it. A girl comes back with change for him and he proceeds to eat the sausage biscuit (which I successfully buy) and a Pepsi.

I arrive at my destination a little tired and am treated to a tasty Wendy's salad. I am glad for this experience of a part of my culture that I usually distance myself from. I know that I need to do something besides write three blog posts about the experience. This is on my top ten list of experiences from my year in America. I am meant to live more simply, to be more intentional about how I interact with people, to realize I'm entitled to a lot less than I think I am. I wonder if I could have learned these same lessons in China, or if I had to learn them as a part of my own culture first.

3 comments:

One Woman said...

wow. wow. wow. i love that "for some reason this makes me long for the redemption of the world," thought.

i think a whole novel could be written around that scene, and yet that was real life that you saw: two people in need of redemption, on a bus.

please keep us (me) posted on this. you have some profound stuff stirring in your mind/heart -- quite clearly evident from just three blog posts.

--suz

Elaine said...

I appreciate you sharing these experiences and the perspective you have taken on it ... like a anthropologist of bus culture ...

Rachael said...

Your writing is so thoughtful and inspired and inspirING.