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Bus Rides In America's Underbelly

written by: Jake Cosmos Aller

 

the Bus – Travels Through America’s Underbelly

I am a bus rider
That makes me unusual
For a white male
From an upper middle class family

Our people are not bus riders
Though some are subway riders

Bus riders are other people
The poor, minorities, immigrants
People who don’t drive
Because they are blind
Or have a DUI

And in my case
I don’t drive
Because I have bad vision
And bad coordination
Just never got the hang
Of the whole driving thing

Fortunately for me
My wife does the driving
But I still take the bus
From time to time

I rode the AC buses in Berkeley
As a child
Line 67, line 51, line 43 F bus
Rode them long before BART came along
And afterwards as well

As an adult seldom rode the bus
But when I did so
I was always impressed
By the sheer diversity
Of the bus riding property

Hundreds of languages
All sorts of sexual orientation
Some were white
Most were not

Most of my fellow passengers
Were nice enough
Some were friendly
And some were lost
In their own thoughts

And a few
Were scary looking dudes
With the look
Of someone who had done time
And were capable of more violence

I also rode the bus
In Seattle as a graduate student
A lot of fellow UW students
And the usual immigrants
Minorities etc

And some white people
Commuting

And in DC
Over the years
I rode a lot of buses

Mostly to and from the metro
But I got to know
And love the DC buses as well

I also took the greyhound bus
Across the country
Several times over the years
All over the U.S.

From Bay Area to Stockton
From Bay Area to Clear Lake
From Bay area to NYC
NYC to DC
All over the USA

Taking the Greyhound
Was always an adventure
Met a lot of interesting people
As people on long distant bus rides
Tend to open up and talk
To pass the time away

Overseas I took the bus
All over
In India, in Barbados
In Spain and in Korea

The Korean buses
For many years
Were difficult for foreign visitors
As the signs were all in Korean

Most have signs
Now in English, Chinese and Korean
And are much more foreigner friendly

Riding the bus
In America
Allows one access
To the underbelly of American society
The poor, the marginalized
The immigrant communities

That many middle-class white people
Just never see

And for that reason
I am glad
That I am a bus rider

 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:

Based on my experiences riding the bus all over the world from 1968 to 2018.

Jake Cosmos Aller

Jake Cosmos Aller

John (“Jake”) Cosmos Aller is a novelist, poet, and former Foreign Service officer having served 27 years with the U.S. State Department serving in over ten countries including Korea, Thailand, India, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Spain. He has traveled to over 50 countries, and 49 out of 50 states. He speaks Korean, Thai, Spanish and studied Chinese, Hindi and Arabic.
Jake Cosmos Aller

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