While you stood waiting for the bus, you had to decide where you were going to stand, who you were going to stand with, and what you would do while standing there. Remember – these were the ‘70s – you couldn’t bide your time with some hand held device. There was nothing to play, listen to, read or look at. And - you couldn’t talk to anyone who wasn’t within earshot of you. Nope – the options were pretty limited – it was you and the people around you.
Winter was the worst ‘cause you had to stand out there in the dark just hoping that you didn’t freeze, get beat up or be made fun of; pray that you didn’t forget you lunch, homework or that you had a test today, and all the while try to look like you were “cool” and “didn’t care”. I can vividly remember the sights, sounds and my feelings of those mornings… shifting around to keep warm, wishing I was still in bed, dreading some unavoidable event at school that day.
It’s kind of a sad commentary on the times we live in now when I drive by bus stops on my way to work in the morning and I see moms parked in cars across the streets – watching their kids until they actually get onto the bus. Some even keep their kids in their cars until the bus arrives. That would’ve never happened when I grew up, but if it did, you can bet it would’ve been fodder for relentless teasing and bullying once you were out of the protective gaze of mom.
At one time during my high school years, my bus ran a route that would go by my house on our back street, and then eventually come up our front street where my stop was. This made it easy to get all ready to go, catch a few zzz’s and still get up and out to the stop just in time to catch the bus. That was sweet!
I have to add one thing to my last post about riding the bus. Peer pressure is an incredible thing! I’ll never forget when I was in 9th grade and my “little brother” started riding the bus since he was now in 7th grade, now. One of the first mornings of the year, we get on the bus and it’s really full. There were only a couple of places left to sit, and I found a pair of open seats on one side. I sat down and immediately prevented my brother from sitting by me. There was no way I was going to be seen sitting together – my classmates would’ve teased me to no end. He ended up standing the entire time, all because I wanted to look cool in front of my peers. Kind of scary, when you think about it…