Saturday, January 14, 2012

the bus rules (except when it sucks)

i am all about taking the bus right now. the subway hogs all the attention and nobody pays any mind to buses. when somebody who isn't from new york asks you what subway they should use to get to wherever they're trying to go, you know exactly what to tell them: which line to take, where to transfer, and an alternative option. boom, boom, boom. people aren't intimidated of the subway like they are with the bus. i recently discovered that the bus that stops right down the block from me goes directly to the east new york post office, which has saved me the trouble of having to haul my ass AND my undelivered packages down atlantic avenue and back to broadway junction. i tell andrea to take the bus when she needs to go to the post office, but she says she doesn't want to because it's hard to tell where you are and the bus announcements aren't always clear. all of these things are true. the bus can, indeed, suck. i must admit that i am still a bit of an amateur bus rider. just the other day i freaked out and got off at the wrong stop because i thought i was lost. i think the key to the bus is to just not panic and let it take you for a ride. of course, you have to have an idea of where you're going, but i've noticed that all of my shitty bus-riding experiences have always been made that way by anxiety about where i'll end up. if you get lost, you can just go across the street and ask whoever is waiting around for the next bus to point you in the right direction. it's embarrassing to be lost, but i also feel that people who ride the bus are nicer than people on the subway. it takes a great deal of patience to ride the bus, i think.

if you make a habit of pausing at various bus stops to check out the route, you can make your life a whole lot easier and more fun. i like the feeling of being whisked away by a bus. it stops with a sigh and the doors open and you can get a seat by a window, and there is nothing more bomb than looking out a window and totally spacing out while listening to music. i never get on buses when i'm in a hurry. i like the way they move through traffic. there is something very lumbering and majestic about them. when you discover these magic little deer paths that buses make around the city, it feels like inheriting a secret recipe or joining a sacred order. to dole out subway directions feels like barking orders; to suggest a bus route feels like passing on a precious trinket of information. i like the feeling of accumulating these little trinkets. now i know that i can take the B20 to my post office, the B54 to clinton hill, and the M14 to library bar directly from work. perhaps taking the bus isn't any easier than taking the subway, but at least you can look out the window. it's a nice change from looking at the floor or a stupid advertisement or at fellow subway riders and thinking, god, what is that girl WEARING? those are the worst boots i've ever seen. dear god, i need to shut up. i need to think positively. find one thing about her that looks good. fine: her bag is okay. dear god! exhausting! we need more windows and slow-moving vehicles in our lives.

so, yes, i do enjoy the bus quite a bit, but i'll tell you something i sure DON'T enjoy about it, and that is hearing it chug past my building on weekends when the L is fucked up and there is double the bus traffic (via the shuttle). go away, evil shuttle bus! you made me fifteen minutes late for work today! 

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