Zen Bus Driver

Ralph Kramden statue at rush hour (evening)

Ralph Kramden statue at rush hour (evening)  (photo by Erica Herd)

I took the early bus to work this morning, the 7:45 which arrives at 7:43. I wasn’t feeling great – have a pinched nerve in my neck, I think, but I hunkered down in my seat, and continued reading Gone Girl on my iPad. My seat mate wore a floral dress and crocheted black shawl and big dark glasses, her mop of dark bangs curtaining the lenses as she read a paperback. All in all, a serene and uneventful trip.

The New Jersey Transit bus drivers are a varying lot: some are gruff, some friendly, some unintelligible. Our Christian driver says over the intercom, “Enjoy the grace of God” and wishes us a “blessed day” as we depart. One driver acts as a tour guide, remarking on the forsythias on the side of the side of the turnpike and how they only bloom in spring. When she was our nighttime driver, she announced each stop (which not all the drivers do) in an erotic, bordering on pornographic purr: “Summit Avenue and Prospect, Summ-iiiit Aaav-e-nuuuue.” Commuters giggled and laughed out loud, but she didn’t seem to notice or care. She would give some of the male passengers a “ come hither” ogle as they departed. I haven’t seen her in a while, perhaps she retired.

Today the driver was silent until we reached our destination, Port Authority (aka “PA”). As we pulled in, he announced over the intercom, “Please remember to take all your belongings and have a peaceful and mindful day.”

Now that’s a first! What a refreshing change from the Big Brother announcements in PA and signs that say “If you see something, say something,” and the “TEXT AGAINST TERROR” campaign: “NJ TRANSIT Reminds Customers to Report Suspicious Activity at 1-888-TIPS-NJT.”

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(photo credit: KnowAddiction.nj.gov)

There’s also a NJ marketing campaign to fight heroin abuse. Some buses tout the sign, “Your medicine cabinet could be the gateway to heroin.” More fear, another “war” against something. I’ve made it a personal crusade to fight against the Fear Campaigns. I’m not living in denial. I know there are terrible things going on in the world, but I’m tired of the Fear Bullying. I agree with the bus driver, let’s not have a “safe” day as they say on the MTA, but a “peaceful and mindful” one. We can be aware without allowing ourselves to be terrorized by another “war” or campaign.

6 thoughts on “Zen Bus Driver

  1. i agree so much. Hate the fear campaigns, all the wars on this and that. I can’t even watch local news anymore. Look out here come’s Ebola!!!!!!

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  2. I agree completely, Erica. This fearmongering is being used to herd us all, and, as with the ebola freakout, it’s working even with people who are rational. We have to resist it. I love this post. I intend to have a peaceful and mindful day.

    Liked by 1 person

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