Memoirs of a Young Bus Rider

Our DCP youth write on their experience riding the busy bus all around San Jose. These writings are part of a running workshop series. Feel free to comment, and workshop facilitators will share with authors.

Once in a Lifetime Experiences Happen on the Bus
By Nae

My parents were getting laid off while they were getting a divorce and everything was falling apart. By then, I had experienced the normal low-income family. I had also experienced the creation of VTA. My first time riding the bus I was mortified. I was scared of getting lost, kidnapped, germs, and everything else. After a couple of bus rides, I felt pretty confident. I was surprised that there were all sorts of nationalities on the bus. The thought that only blacks and mexicans rode the bus was something I grew up on, so seeing white people and Asians on the bus surprised me. 

A lot of things happen on the bus. For example, one day I was on the bus and some homeless man tried to sneak in from the back of the bus with this huge black garbage bag with God knows what was in it. He thought that the bus driver didn’t notice but of course he did. The driver stopped the bus and closed all the doors with so much anger that ran to the back of the bus to grab the bag and throw the bag off the bus then kicked out the man. 

You can learn a lot of things about riding the bus. For example, time management. The last thing you want is to miss your bus, haha. Missing the bus is a pain especially when you have a scheduled appointment and you know you can’t be late. Ever since my first time missing my bus running down the street to catch up, I looked up online for all the times and now, I barely miss a bus. The bus is also a place where you can get your thoughts right. The whole time im on the bus I just think. Think, think, think.

I have learned to enjoy the creation of VTA and take advantage of the beauty. If you’re lucky you will get a quiet bus, but thats pretty rare. You will also be lucky to experience random things or people, once in a life time type of things. For instance, one day I was on the bus with my brother and there was this caucasian man. He had brown hair with blue eyes with a face structure i was familiar with. Something told me I should introduce myself, so I did. The tone of his voice was something I never heard. He was from France and decided to come to San Jose to sight see. Imagine if I would've never introduced myself to that man, I would’ve never met someone from France. Like I said, once in a lifetime thing.

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The Bus is a Place for All People
By Nikki 

The bus is for poor and rich, homeowners and homeless, and all ethnicities from A to Z. Everytime I step on to the bus there’s always something new to look at. There’s always interesting people to observe or things to wonder about. Occasionally, something interesting will happen on the bus. For example, it was 9 p.m and I was taking the 68 bus home and an old man appearing to be homeless got on the bus with his bike and walked all the way to the back to where I was sitting. This man started talking to his bike as if she were his wife. The man called it “angel” and “sweetheart” and told it that when they arrived at home he would make it dinner and then they could shower and go to sleep. When I see people like this, it makes me wonder how their mind works and if they think and act in that way because their brain tells them to or if it’s some type of drug that has done that to them.

Speaking of drugs, a time when I was on the bus I was sitting next to a group of men who were having a very interesting conversation. None of the men had previously known each other, and I can’t remember how their conversation started but it was very intriguing. The men for 45 minutes talked about every type of drug they had ever encountered. Not just of marijuana or cocaine, but special green berries in China that had to be smoked out of a rock, or a stem of a flower in India that if broken up and snorted would give the same effects of mushrooms. At one point, a man who was also listening like me but not talking leaned over and said to me “I hope you’re getting enough information out of this.”

On mornings when I don’t get rides to school and I’m too sleepy to get up at 5 to catch the bus to school, I wake up at 8 and take the 9:44 bus. Almost every time I have done this, there is always a man of about 25 who get’s on at the same time as me. I guess you could call him attractive for his age. As it has become a pattern to see each other, we will smile upon seeing one another. Yesterday as I was sitting across from him he took out a notebook and began to draw. He repeatedly looked up at me then back to his drawing. When I looked over I saw he was drawing a face. He didn’t finish it but put it away and got off the bus smiling bye as usual. Today when I saw him he did the same thing, pull out his notebook and continue the drawing. I’m still a little confused and shocked if who he was drawing really is me, but I guess you could say flattered too. The bus is a captivating place that can broaden one's mind if they choose to observe it.

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8 Words About the Bus
By Kymera 

Her mom said it was for the best. Saving gas and money, right?
In her mind she was growing her independence, but then again, far from it. 
Because who's freedom was it, when you were running to catch that bus you needed to take, in order for you not to be late.
Only to sit at the stop waiting and panting on the next transit.
Or giving up that seat you needed, after a long day.
Just so you could secretly crawl away from the horrid smell that was coming from the person who was siting in front of you.
I mean public transportation isn't something that I'd say is the greatest thing in the world.
But if anyone were to come to me asking about my experience on it. 
I only have eight words for you:

 It gets me where I need to go.    

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