Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thank you for riding the MTA

Like most New Yorkers, I think my commute stinks. I leave my apartment at 6:10 am, and it takes close to an hour to travel the 5 miles to my school by subway and then bus. The bus stinks infinitely more than the subway because it's always crowded with people who think it's okay to scream into their cell phones at 6:30 in the morning. And on the way home, I always, always (and I am only slightly exaggerating here) miss the bus, in that I see it whiz by as I am still high-heeling it to the stop.

Today I was standing at the stop when a "Not in Service" bus turned the corner -- but to my surprise, the driver opened the doors and beckoned me on. We recognized each other because we'd exchanged friendly greetings on the empty bus once before. "By the way," he said as I dipped my MetroCard, "are you a teacher?"

"I am!" I said, surprised. "How did you know?"

He smiled. "I just had a feeling," he said. "You have that face."

What I think he really meant was "that face of someone who probably wouldn't be getting on the bus in this neighborhood unless she taught here," but it was still a nice moment. He told me that my job requires a lot of patience. I agreed and pointed out that his does too. I told him that about my kindergarteners who are cute but wild; he told me about his old-lady passengers who curse him out and hit his bus with their canes.

Hmmm. Maybe our jobs aren't so different after all.


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ms. v. said...

Hmmm to the comment above.

To your post: Since I started teaching, I've been fascinated by bus drivers, who must exercise a form of public authority which is similar to what teachers must exercise, except instead of a more-or-less consistent group of students they deal with an ever-changing array of people of all ages... and they have to establish their authority much more quickly to keep things moving.