Tag Archives: public transit

the pleasures of the bus

i went to see bill mckibben speak on thursday in grosse pointe.  i didn’t really want to have to go to grosse pointe to see him, i felt he should have spoken in detroit. of course had he spoken in detroit  i don’t think admission would have been free.  our coffers aren’t that big 

most of what he spoke on was about how we need to reduce our carbon footprint etc.  all the stuff we already know.  but it did get me thinking. when most people think of changing their lives to reduce their negative environmental impact they think of what they have to sacrifice.  they give up things out of guilt, instead of embracing decisions because they make their life better, and they just happen to save the environment to boot.  

so with that i present my pro bus arguments which have nothing to do with the environment.  the first step is to listen to johnathan richman’s you’re crazy for taking the bus.  pretty much every time i take the bus i hear johnathan singing ” yr crazy for the bus, yeah i’m crazy so what’s the fuss”.  it let’s me know i have company.  now you have the soundtrack, and now for the benefits of bus riding


1. you don’t have to do much.  sure cars are quick and get you just where you need to go, but you have to think.  you have to watch out for things, you have to stay focused.  on the bus your mind can just wonder here, there, everywhere.  you can reach the state of not thinking where you think of ground hogs, atomic war, pancakes, and indian food, all in the course of 30 seconds without the restriction of logic

2. you can see stuff.  well actually you can look at it.  i would hope if you drive or bike you can see stuff.  on the bus you can look at anything you want and don’t have to worry that you are going to swerve off into traffic and kill folks.  you can see it in a different perspective too cause the bus is up nice and high.  oh, and you can stare at drivers and not have to deal with there wrath.  no driver is going to chase down a bus.

3. you get to met new people.  i know where the folks at my bus stop work and go to church and other stuff.  

4. you can read.  try doing that while driving or even riding a bike.

5. you can annoy people by your mere presence.  i admit having a pension for annoying folks, but i like it even better when i’m doing nothing but sitting next to them.  the visible annoyance in folks sitting next to me for being in the seat next to then is something i cherish.

6 . you can be drunk or high, and you would be in good company.  half the bus is high or drunk why not you to0.  no drunk driving charges either.  

7. parking.  forget about it you don’t have to do it.  you don’t have to worry about folks stealing your bike either.

8. book marks.  the little cards you get for transfers make great bookmarks, or little love notes to your friends. 

9. you can be exposed to new music via all the the teenagers in the back of the bus blasting music out of their cell phones.  sure it sounds like someone scraping keys over a caulk board while other folks cough, but they like it, a lot, enough to keep playing it over and over for 20 minutes.  

10. you get to hear the bus drivers reprimand folks.  i’m not sure if anyone can cut you down to size like a bus driver.  makes me have flash backs to middle school.  i tremble in fear as soon as they call someone out worried it’s me.  

11. people watching.  the bus is full of all kinds of characters.  what does that woman carry in that blue plastic bin.  what’s that guy going to do with that tire?  why does that guy take the bus for only one block?  why does that guy have all those beads glued to his hat.  

12. exercise while doing something you have to do anyway.  unless you are really lucky you are going to need to walk to  a bus stop or from it.  that means you are going to be getting some exercise, and you don’t even have to wear lycra.

13. you get to see the city.  i don’t really spend that much time in downtown, i really have no reason to be down there, but i have to get my transfer there, so i spend some time, and it’s strangely enjoyable to be among the tall buildings, watching the sun on them, enjoying the hustle and bustle of down town, and feeling as though i live in a major metropolitan area.  i also love seeing hazen pingree staring out at the city each morning, especially the other day when we had a wet snow and it looked like someone had smeared marshmallow fluf all over his face.

14. fun during transfers.  transfers are good for four hours, so what’s the hurry to catch your next bus, why not go get a drink and read.  helps you fit in with all the drunk and high people on the bus anyway.

15. the thrill of the hunt.  the bus never seems to come on time.  so when you catch the bus just right, well it feels like magic.  the tension of walking up to the bus stop, not knowing if you are going to watch your bus just fly by cause you have not quite made it in time, or having to wait a half hour, it makes the blood pump.  don’t get me stated on my statigic bus catching methods or transfer routines.

sure i’m crazy so what’s the fuss.  that’s it.