Bus Riding

One of the major scenes in 40 days, 40 nights takes place on the muni buses of San Francisco. They ride up and down the hills, watching as passengers get on and off. It’s romantic, it’s different…

But buses like other crowded public spaces are often the place where we are allowed to interact at a different level with others. We aren’t expected to speak with others. It’s ok to stare outside. But perhaps you might run into someone you know. A pleasant conversation that may or may not last too long.

A few months ago, I used to run into someone over and over again when I took the bus home when I had barely seen him before. Was it fate? Was it coincidence? Regardless, it allowed us to talk. And I got to learn from him, things that would have never happened if we didn’t happen to be riding the bus together.

Today, I took the bus to the Marina district on an adventure to find good Indian food (something I miss about Pittsburgh). Along the way and along the way back, I missed the way I used to ride the buses in Pittsburgh. The way I would find an open seat right in front of him. Sitting down, I would smile and laugh to myself, knowing that the bus is too loud right now to speak. He would be smiling at me, almost laughing, perhaps reading papers or a book. Sometimes I would get off the stop before he did and say “see you later” even if we didn’t have a conversation. And I would walk to the front, saying thank you to the driver, and stepping out into the brilliant sunlight.

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