I’m sure at some point in all of our lives we can recall being in middle or high school and having the chaotic experience of riding the bus.
We can remember how all of the sweaty little kids smelled, backpacks with “I love blank(ITALICS)” or favorite band names written on them with magic markers and Wite-Out, crumbs from sack lunches and winter coats swishing around. All crammed in those funky puke-green colored seats, most talking about nothing, but talking loudly as gossip and laughter flew about “the big cheese.”
And then remember how there were always a few kids who were silent, didn’t talk, avoided eye contact and instead of participating in the social escapade, patiently waited to get off and go on with their days.
Funny how now as college students, we are no longer the crazy gossipers but the silent ones.
Anyone who has taken a bus to and from CSU is familiar with the routine; get on, sit down, maybe whisperingly an apologize for bumping into your neighbor, get comfortable and then maybe study or look out the window, but overall avoid eye contact and patiently wait to get off.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the routine, it’s pretty much just like getting on a silent elevator full of people and waiting for the “ding” to signal that it’s time for you to exit.
Okay on to the story…
It was one of the few days when there are absolutely no seats available on the number seven heading north bound to campus at 7:29 a.m. – I get on and decide that I can squeeze in the one little space open between a pole and a cute guy with a skateboard. I say my apologies and sit somewhat uncomfortably but am happy that I don’t have to struggle to stand upright (because this is more embarrassing) as the stops and turns sometimes make standing difficult.
I settle in and am looking around and observing what I have described above, how we as college students act while riding on the bus.
To add to the awkwardness, I am not only squished in between a guy and a pole, but I am also faced with another uncomfortable college experience, running into people you knew in high school.
People that you knew-of but maybe weren’t the greatest of friends with, and now you’re forced into the small talk, the “Hey how’s school?” … “Oh yeah!” … “Really?” … “What’s your major?” kind of small talk.
So, as I’m sitting awkwardly on a packed bus, somewhat uncomfortable and squished, making small talk with kids from my home town, the funniest thing ever happens … “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boys II Men comes blaring on the radio. I mean seriously, of all the songs to serenade the already awkward trek to school, “I’ll Make Love to You” has to be one of the cheesiest.
Now, I’m not sure if everyone on the bus realized what exactly was happening, but for a brief moment there was an opportunity for all of us to give up the learned routine and absolutely bust out laughing.
And my question is, why didn’t we, and why don’t we?
Especially now, in college, when our backpacks now hold laptops and the gossip can be replaced with intuition. This should be seen as an opportunity to meet someone new, someone who we would most likely have something in common with, or at the very least someone to share a laugh with.
It amazes me that there are twenty-some-thousand people who go to school here and we just go on with this daily routine. We keep passing by each other, rarely stopping to say hi, share a laugh or meet a stranger and I think its sad that most times even a smile is hard to find, especially when cheesy-ass music like Boys II Men is playing.