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Tue, Apr. 26th, 2005, 11:44 pm
The Oral History of Bus People

So today I finally got my car fixed, much to not only my own relief, but to everyone I play chaffur for around here - yay! However, since I am the driver around here, there's not many people to drive ME to go get it. And after walking back the 3 miles from the garage yesterday, I decided to take an alternative course of action. I already dance 4 hours a day and walk my ass all over the place around here - I really don't need to add a trek along the highway to my exercise routine. So I found a bus that would get me as far as the DHMC, which means I still have to walk along the highway, but not nearly as far. Maybe only about 3/4 of a mile. So I headed into downtown to wait for it, pulled myself up a park bench, and started talking to people.
The great thing about taking oral history is that I've learned that I can find stories anywhere, from anyone - even when waiting for the bus. Although these stories have nothing to do with my project, they were fun to hear, nevertheless.
LOUIS
For an unassuming white-looking guy, the man sitting next to me was a wealth of personality. He was probabaly in his early 40s, tall, gangly, with a dirty baseball cap and black hair sticking out at odd angles. Louis, as I came to find out, was from South America - Columbia, to be exact, he replied through a crooked, yet glowing smile when I asked. I was surprised; considering his accent sounded exactly like Pedro Martinez, I would have guessed the Islands or Latin America. After wondering why I didn't become a doctor rather than a writer ("It's good money, eh?") I found out that he came to the United States nine years ago, hoping to get an education. Although he regrets a bit that he didn't get a college degree, he still "got more education than Columbia." He then lived in New York for 6 years, working. He really liked New York. "It is fun, you know? So many clubs and people, and. . .here is boring," he said. Amen, brother. "But here is nice," he added. "Hanover. Quiet. More money working here, so, you know. I think I'll stay. Maybe live up near here someday." When he found out I was from Boston, he was really excited. "I've been Boston! So nice - there was this one, a main street, with clubs, all in a line! You been there?" Probabaly. "Good drinks too, but I no drink!" He was very insistant that he'd quit drinking for over a year. The reason he was taking the bus is that his liscense had been suspended. "The second time!" he said. "It's stupid - I wasn't even the guy who drink drive!" I wasn't a hundred percent sure if he meant he was driving a bunch of drunk people, or if he was drunk but not the one driving. He didn't really seem like he wanted to talk about it. "I hate the bus, but its good, I think. No drinking and the driving. That very bad." I nodded gravely. "So you gonna write kids' books or what?" he asked. No, I said. Probabaly journalism. Maybe playwrighting on the side. "Journalist! You have to be very smart to be that - eh? To be on TV? You are gonna read the news on TV, right?" Maybe, I said. That would be fun, but I'd write for a paper too. "Oh. But TV, man - I really like that channel, channel 3. You should read there. They nice, explain things well." That's important, I said. I usually have my favorite news station too. "Yes, yes. Some boring, but channel 3 is interesting. Even for Columbians. The guy, he waves around, points. It's great. You should do it like that guy." I promised if I ever got to read the news, I'd try to make it interesting. Even for Colombians.
TRAVIS
At that point, Louis introduced me to his buddy, Travis (although he had to ask the guy for his name first). Travis looked much younger, probabaly late 20s, well dressed with curly blonde hair, dark sunglasses, and an arm slung lazily over the back of the bench. All-American looking, although certainly not from Dartmouth. After leaning over to shake my hand, he took a long drag on his ciggarette. Travis was much quieter, more laid-back, although he seemed amused by everything Louis had to say. They'd been working together, I gathered. "Finally off - time to get drink!" Louis said. "You quit drinking," Travis reminded him. "Oh, right," Louis responded, crestfallen. "What to do? Oh well."
MILLY
Probabaly 40s, with brown curly hair and large glasses, Milly has, until now, been standing facing away from the conversation, her attention to where the bus should be coming from. Overwieght with an eccletic mix of clothes and shopping bags, she turns towards us with the kind eyes, yet confused look of the mentally disabled. "You takin' bus?" she askes excitedly. Sure were, I said. She stuck her hand out and I took it. "I'm Milly," she said decisvely. "Been taking this bus 18 years." That's a long time, I said. "Yup, it should be commin' in a minute - at exactly 2:47." A glance at the schedule would have told anyone she was right. With that, she turned back to her lookout.
Travis took another drag on his cigarette. "You smoke?" Louis asked. I said no. "Good!" he said. "I smoked. Quit 15 years ago. Is bad habit." "And expensive," I said. "Yes! So much money!" Louis excalimed. "When I stopped smoking, I went out, spent money on flowers for my girlfriend. You ever smoke?" No again, I said. "So good," Louis said, shaking his head. "Is no good to kiss after a girl's been smoking." I laughed, agreeing. "Yeah, I can't date smokers," I said. At that, Louis turned to Travis, who was taking another drag on his ciggarette. "Hey man," Louis said, "Do you smoke?"
We all had to have a good laugh at that one. Even Milly.
"Guess I'm off the available list," Travis joked. I suppose so, I replied. Then Milly jumped. "The bus! This is the one, right here, get on!" She herded us over. We got on. It was 2:47.

Kind person
Your Quote is:
"Be kind to unkind people, they probably need it the most," by Ashleigh Brilliant.

You try to look beyond apperances, give people second chances, and are probably very kind. Understanding is your biggest personality trait, and those you associate with should be grateful, if they aren't already. You detest narrow-minded people, because they can't see what's really there. Facades are not your thing, and you strive to always be who you really are.

What Quote Are You?

Thu, Apr. 28th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): liked your reflections

Greets. Came across this site doing a search for "oral history" in weblogs. Amusing reflection (and descriptions). You're right. Stories are everywhere.

Susan (http://www.2020hindsight.org/)