Monday, September 29, 2008


today i met earl.  he drives the number 10 bus up 8th ave. which turns into central park west along central park, and then frederick douglas boulevard north of 110th street.  the bus was crowded and i had a load of, if you can believe it, candles and cheap white t-shirts in a new duffel bag i bought in the garment district.  i'll never buy t-shirts for more than $1.75 again.  

since we were crowded into the bus and i hate that no one talks to one another, i asked the driver how he was doing.  he seemed surprised that i would address him but very willing to converse.  i had 20 blocks to go from the bed, bath, and beyond store so we chatted a bit.  certainly didn't want him to be neglected up there in the front seat.  he's been driving a bus for just over 10 years now and has developed some seniority which allows him to select from the various routes.  some of them pay better than others.  he's single and laughed when i suggested that we were both "bachelors to the rapture."  

there's a stereotype that we may have about bus drivers.  earl bucked it.  we talked about the economy and the vote today in congress.  he was happy that the bailout plan didn't pass.  angry, in fact, that he was being asked to pay for a problem he had no part in creating.  he has been thinking about how the economy will impact public transportation around new york and believes that his job is fairly secure.  as pocketbooks tighten, the bus becomes a more viable option than taxis.  a bus ride to anywhere in the city is $2.  a taxi ride starts at $2.50 to sit your cheeks down on the faux leather seat of the cab and goes up from there.  this leads him to think that more people will be riding buses in the coming months.  

i guess we'll find out if his speculations are correct.  either way, i hope i get to ride with earl again sometime soon.  talk to your bus drivers and make sure they have a good day for having met you.  they hold your life in their hands.  

No comments: