Sunday, April 17, 2016

BUS STORY # 493 (Other Voices, Other Buses)

Downloaded from Dreamstime.

I don’t remember when I first discovered there were other bus bloggers out there. Carla Saulter’s “Bus Chick” was my first discovery, and she’d been at it longer than I.

Then my daughter introduced me to “The Subway Chronicles,” a remarkably literate series of essays by various New Yorkers about their experiences on the subway.

I began putting links to these and other blogs in my sidebar, and the format evolved to the list of current blogs you can see there now, followed by another list of “gone but not forgotten” blogs that have been abandoned but are still accessible. (A couple of fine ones have been dismantled, including “The Subway Chronicles.” “The Blood Bus,” a Glasgow bus driver’s raucous blog, also comes to mind.)

I found most of these blogs during my weekly search for “This Week’s Featured Bus Story,” another sidebar edition which allowed me to share other people’s bus stories.

Near the end of 2008, it occurred to me that I really should have been saving those stories, and so I began doing just that in a blog I titled “Other Bus Stories,” and adding it to the current blog roll.

I have my favorites. When I began saving the weekly stories, I began labeling my favorites as “a Top Ten Bus Stories nominee.” By now, I have almost twice that number so labeled. So I’ve sorted out my top ten favorites and present them here, in chronological order.

December 3, 2007, from Minneapolis: “His teeth were biting my...”  by Jill via “Bus Tales”.
“Bus Tales,” like “The Subway Chronicles,” was a blog made up of the contributions of its many riders. Unlike the Chronicles, the quality of the writing and the stories varied widely. This story still makes me laugh. It’s a wonderful example of that bus weirdness that does happen from time to time, but Jill’s experience is as benign as it is weird. I admire her assessment of what was happening, and her compassionate handling of the situation.

February 25, 2009, from NYC: “Bus Justice,” by Andrew Tavani via New York Press.
A powerful story that evoked mixed feelings of righteous satisfaction and an uneasy conscience over just how compos mentis the old man really was.

March 12, 2012, from Silverwood, Michigan: “An open letter to the weird guy on my bus in 1968,” by Pony via her blog, “PhoenixDown Farm.”
Probably all of us are familiar with this kind of retrospective reflection on a past experience that seemed unimportant or unpleasant at the time, but ended up having a surprising impact on our lives. I’ve seen several bus stories that explore this experience, but this one was especially sweet.

April 14, 2012, from Portland, Oregon: “Scam Artist Rips Off Innocent Citizen,” by Nickareeno via his blog, “Sardines Are Only Packed Once.”
Boy, do I recognize this story and all the feelings that go with it! Nicareeno’s posts have been featured several times on “Other Bus Stories.”

November 14, 2012, from NYC: “Beauty on the Bus,” by Susan Heath for The New York Times.
Sweetness and kindness in the big city! We could do with a lot more of both.

March 2, 2013, from Edinburgh, Scotland: “The last Etruscan,” by “A Late Starter in Edinburgh” via her blog, “Not Reading On the Bus.”
A lovely story and the final post by one of my favorite bloggers. I have assumed from the writing the author is female, but there is another author from Edinburgh famous for his extraordinary ability to write from the female perspective: Alexander McCall Smith. Whoever “Late Starter” might be, the writing here, and throughout the blog, is extraordinary. I still miss it.

June 30, 2013, from Boston: “Strangers on a bus,” by Sarah Kess for The Boston Globe.
Another retrospective, and a startling, “you are there” story told by a woman witnessing another young woman’s public pain and embarrassment, watching that woman rebuff another, older woman trying to help, and, finally, her own personal reflection on what she learned from the experience about the kind of person she wants to be. This one has stayed with me.

July 22, 2014, from Seattle: “Vanishing Reason,” by Richard Isherman via his blog, “Bus Stories: Observations on Life in Transit.”
Richard Isherman is another of my favorite bloggers. His closely observed, very well written stories are often fanciful musings on what he’s observing. They’re literate and witty, usually amusing and always insightful. This one, however, is one powerful heartbreaker.

February 5, 2015, from Seattle: “Different Sides (More Than One Way Through Life),” by Nathan Vass via his blog, “The View From Nathan’s Bus.”
Nathan Vass is a bus driver for Seattle’s King County Metro. He’s a prolific blogger, with a fine ear and extraordinary talent for converting how people actually sound when they talk into comprehensible written dialogue. He’s also attentive and compassionate to a degree I find both astounding and daunting. This story is a remarkable slice of life, and I think we’re fortunate Nathan was there to hear it and pass it on to us.

August 5, 2015, from Portland, Oregon: “In Heat,” by Bill Reagan via the blog, “Trimet Diaries.”
Bill Reagan is yet another of my favorite bloggers whose stories have frequently been featured in my side panel. It would have been hard to pick a top favorite of his stories had this one not come along. This is a story I haven’t seen on the bus myself, yet I immediately recognized it because, like Bob Seger, I remember, I remember, I remember... Not that I was ever one for making public displays of affection. But I was definitely a boy who had no idea “how little he understood” the young woman of his desires, and how troubling that was to the young woman in question. Reading this story now, at my age, makes me wince for the both of them.


I don’t have a corresponding top ten favorite fictional bus stories. But who doesn’t love Kramer’s bus story from “The Fire,” the nineteenth episode in season five of the NBC sitcom, “Seinfeld”? Besides, as any longtime urban-dwelling bus commuter knows, it’s not all that beyond the realm of possibility.


Blogger Heather said...

Great way to spend a few minutes of my Tuesday morning. Thanks!

11:33 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thanks, Heather.

8:17 PM  

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