Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My carbon footprint is smaller than yours...

I'm a bus-taker. A slave to the Capital Transit Bus system. It's...whatever. I live at point A, walk for a little while, get on the bus, get off the bus, walk for another little while, and I'm at point B. It's effective enough and keeps me from burning my weight in natural resources every day. I also don't have a driver's license.
Gasp. I can't believe I just admitted that on the internet. Everyone in Juneau seems to have a driver's license, but not me. Upon hearing this absolutely earth-shattering information, I'm often presented with a very typical follow up question: why not?
For a while, I didn't have a license because I didn't want one. I was fine not driving because it didn't appeal to me (I also failed my learner's permit test twice when I was a teenager). Now, I don't have a license because I just don't. Too busy to learn, too broke for a car. Same old story. So, I take the bus.

Public transportation is a writer's wet dream. If I had a bit more sense in me, I'd carry a notepad on the bus and begin writing a novella. In an enclosed space under fluorescent lighting, everyone is fascinating...
I can never figure out where drunk people need to be in the morning, but more often than not, a man will get on the first bus of the day with a stumble his step and a lazy twinkle in his eye that indicates intoxication. The stink of his breath when he passes lets me know it's fresh. He can still taste the whiskey. Everyone else can smell it.
On the afternoon bus, the drunk man sleeps, but the schizophrenic woman is wide awake. She sits in the back, wears sunglasses on a cloudy day. Sometimes she'll mumble but she usually keeps to herself. I've heard that on a rare occasion, this woman will have a paranoid meltdown that really freaks everyone out. I've never seen it happen myself, but my boyfriend tells me it isn't pretty. He says that when it happens, she forces everyone on the bus to face a reality that we often ignore. Life isn't always beautiful. For some people, it's a terribly frightening experience.
The evening bus is the worst because it's rowdy as hell. Loud teenagers love to talk about sex, alcohol and drugs. I can't blame them, all are worthy topics for discussion, but I just can't stand the way these guys do it. They announce, with intimate detail, their sexual experiences at the top of their lungs; forcing the entire bus to listen. Boys feel like men, want everyone to know they're growing up.

There was a time when I saw the city bus as a window into the seedy underbelly of this town, but I was wrong. There is no such thing as a seedy underbelly, just differing realities. Everyday I spend time observing people who I would otherwise never come into contact with, and it serves as a constant reminder that there is a world outside my little college bubble. It is no better or worse than my own but it is very, very different.

Currently drinking re-heated coffee from this morning. Wishing it were Lady Gray...


  1. that is a wonderful poem. really inspiring :)

  2. Lol the poem is surely a different tone than the writing above but funny. I love how u describe the boys on the bus. Great images.

  3. I can't believe that you two aren't planning to read and recite this effing epic MEAL ON WHEELS of a poem to everyone on the bus!!! I will so get on for THAT EVENT! Love your observations, more than anything. Even ham.

  4. I might have mentioned this before- but the ending collaborative poem is genius.