Tuesday, July 15

bus culture, part two

On the next bus, I sit next to a single mom and her three kids. They are so cute with their big blue eyes. I get to hold the youngest (5 months old) while the mom takes the girl to the restroom, and again at a stop where the mom takes a smoke break.

There's a little more variety than your standard bus riders on this one. I notice a girl reading a book in Russian, a guy who gets off the bus speaking with some kind of British accent and another guy who has an iPod (the only one I saw on the bus) and is reading a book on debating two different views of Calvinism.

Our bus getting in to Wythville at 4 AM is a little late and it's really cold outside, so those of us waiting on our next bus go into the waiting box (it's not so much a room). We are told that all the buses are late tonight, and we hear stories of people that have been waiting for 9 hours. So, we're thinking we might be here for a while when one of the guys that's catching the same bus I am goes out to double check on the bus that's out there. He comes back in saying, "That's our bus, y'all! (He's got a feminine lilt to his voice.)

So, I follow him out to the bus. The bus driver takes his ticket, but informs me that the bus is full. I tell him, politely, that I have had this ticket for two weeks, have two more buses to connect with after this one, and I would be happy to sit on the floor. He looks at me disapprovingly, saying "It's illegal in this state to sit on the floor of a bus. People who have tickets have to wait all the time."

I decide to wait until the bus leaves to see if he'll change his mind and I start to pray. The next bus wasn't scheduled to come for another 7 hours, so I don't want to give up yet. Right before he leaves, he turns around and tells me he'll let me sit on the steps beside him. Answer to prayer number two!

I load my bag, he takes my ticket, and he tells me that he considers the seat I'm getting "the best seat on the bus." It's where he often sits when he's riding. (So apparently he breaks that law anyway?) He quickly warns me that he will not tolerate it if I fall asleep and lean backwards on him.

It's dark and cold. I don't want to fall asleep, for fear that he'll have to take unwanted action against me, so I pull out my iPod. The white screen light comes on and he raises his voice at me, saying that is distracting. I say, "Yes, sir." I turn the iPod over so that the light shines onto the floor as I try to adjust the volume. He tells me that if I shine that light one more time he's going to kick me off. So, I spend the next hour and a half listening to a chapter of a book I've already listened to, but I can't really understand it anyway, because the volume is too low. I feel like a middle school student who is on the teacher's bad side and can't do anything right.

We pull into the station and I'm relieved to get off that bus. I get my bags and go into the station to wait for the next bus. While I'm sitting in the station, I hear people behind me talking about that poor girl who had to sit on the floor and how mean that driver was to her. One lady says, "He must have come from a hard home life." I smile, glad to have some people on my side.


One Woman said...

WOW. Wow is all I can say. And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW! :)

Scott R said...

Hey Lela,

The woman's comment made me snicker when I remembered the bar scene in "Top Gun", where Maverick's sidekick Goose says (of the two guys they're in competition with throughout the movie, and in reference to how they were treating the woman who turns out to be Maverick's love interest), "They were abused children".

Not really funny in one sense, but it certainly makes it easier to be gracious with people when we think of them as abused children (rather than just rude adults).

Thanks for sharing your adventure! If you'd care for another one, come see us in Indy sometime :)