There are people screaming on my bus at 6am. Are they in pain? They read the free transit newspaper, after all. I will be offered one if I don’t already have a book in hand -- the thought grips me at each departure.
You would be impressed by the ambient volume within our shared sarcophagus. Some of us have the ability to speak with the same velocity of sound as when one shrieks. I, on the other hand, have the opposite problem. It takes extra effort to maintain a normal speaking volume, because my voice is very deep.
I’m usually the only white person on the bus. Sometimes it’s me and the bus driver. The route goes to all the hotels around the airport, to a bank, and finally to the cargo end of the tarmac. At alternate times it will take you to the Tastykake factory by the river. Most of the people I encounter work in the hotels. My stop is the end of the line, and by then there are four or five of us left: me with two of my coworkers and one or two security guards.
I can get a lot of reading done if I’m in a familiar environment. The trip is about 25 minutes, which can seem too short, really. It’s pleasant to read on a bus if it is part of your routine. I have a harder time with it when I’m traveling somewhere that isn’t routine. And I can’t sleep in most modes of transportation, certainly not well.
People come to public transit with different preconceptions. Working people are split between those who appreciate what it has to offer and those who stridently reject it, because of its association with the poor. I’ve known quite a few people who regard cars as status symbols for this reason. There is a certain unimaginative type who is forever asking when you are going to get a car, each time they see you waiting for the bus -- like, for years. I once knew an immigrant student who even saw in obtaining wheels his best chance at landing a girlfriend.
You have to ascend pretty high up into professional culture before you encounter anyone for whom public transit is a status symbol greater than the automobile. Whenever someone tells me how cool it is that I take the bus, I agree, if warily. I’m skeptical of how much I have in common with someone just because we have something in common. Particularly so at the level of ideas.